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142 & 144 WORTH STREET. 




General description of the Lake and of the most important points 
along its borders Ancient and Modern names of places Distances 
Old Forts Scenery Original Indian name. 

LAKE CHAMPLAIN extends from the 4330" to 
the 45 north latitude, and lies between Vermont and 
New York the boundary line of those States running 
through its centre. The lake is about ninety miles in 
length, in a right line from North to South, with a 
length of coast, on each side, of about one hundred and 
twenty-five miles : its southern extremity, or head, being 
at Whitehall, and its northern near the boundary line 
between the United States and Canada. The lake 
varies in width from one-fourth of a mile to thirteen 
miles, and its waters cover an area of about five hun- 
dred square miles. It receives the waters of Lake 
George, at Ticonderoga, and discharges itself into the 
St. Lawrence, through the river Richelieu. There is 
no perceivable current in the body of the lake, and, its 
waters, at ordinary stages, pass into the Richelieu with 
a velocity of only one-third of a mile per hour. 

The Lake has two arms ; one on the west side, near 
its southern extremity, called South Bay, the other, on 
the east side, near its northern extremity, called Mis- 
sisco Bay. This last mentioned bay stretches into 
Canada and covers about thirty-five square miles. The 
area of country, drained into the lake, is variously esti- 
mated from seven thousand to nine thousand square 
miles. It probably approaches nearest to the larger 
estimate. Numerous rivers and creeks discharge them- 
selves into the lake, among the principal of which are, 



on the New York side, Wood Creek, the outlet of Lake 
George, the Bouquet, Great and Little Ausable, the 
Salmon, the Saranac, and the Big and Little Chazy 
rivers. On the Vermont side are the Poultnev river, 
Otter Creek, and the Winooski, Lamoille and Missisco 
rivers. The lake is subject to a rise and fall of from 
four to six feet during the year ; the waters attaining 
their greatest height about the twentieth of May, after 
which they fall, gradually, until about the twentieth of 
September, when they usually reach the lower level of 
the remainder of the season. In 1869 the water reached 
a point nine feet nine inches above ordinary low-water 
mark, while in 1880 it fell to a point nine inches below 
low-water mark. The average between the highest and 
lowest water for thirteen years from 1875 to 1887 
was five feet two inches. 

Lake Champlain commences at the junction of Wood 
Creek with East Bay, in the town of Whitehall. The 
Indian name of this place was kah-cho-quah-na, " the 
place where dip fish" Philip K. Skeene, an English 
Major under half pay, located here in 1763, and estab- 
lished a settlement at the mouth of Wood Creek, which 
was called Skeenesborough. This, for many years, was 
the most important settlement upon Lake Cliamplain. 
In 1773 it numbered seventy-three families, all of whom, 
with but two exceptions, were Skeene's tenants. The 
name of the town was changed to Whitehall in 1788. 

About two miles north of the village of Whitehall is 
South Bay, an arm of the lake seven miles long and one 
mile wide extending to the south-west and separating 
the town of Whitehall from the town of Dresden. It 
was on the shores of this bay that the Baron de Dieskau 
landed, in 1755, withanarmy of fifteen hundred French 
and Indians, when marching against the English en- 
campment at the head of Lake George. 

Twenty-four miles below Whitehall is old fort Ticon- 
deroga on the west, and Mount Independence on the 
east side of the lake. The waters of Lake George here 
discharge themselves into Lake Champlain through an 
outlet called, by the Indians, Cheonderoga; a word 


signifying " noisy,'' and which was applied in allusion 
to the falls on the outlet near its mouth. The French 
erected a fortress here in 1756, which they called Fort 
Carillon, and which was a place of great strength. 
Mount Defiance lies on the south side of the mouth of 
the outlet of Lake George, opposite Ticonderoga. The 
summit of this mountain is seven hundred and fifty feet 
above the lake, and within cannon shot of the old for- 

Twelve miles north of Ticonderoga is Crown Point, 
called by the French Pointe a la Chevelure. Here the 
French built a fort in 1731, which they called Fort St. 
Frederic. This fort was destroyed by them on their 
retreat to Canada in 1759, and the same year General 
Amherst commenced a much larger work, the ruins of 
which are still to be seen. 

Opposite Crown Point is a landing called Chimney 
Point, which was settled by the French, about the time 
they commenced building Fort St. Frederic, and was 
destroyed by them in 1759. So complete was the de- 
struction of the settlement that when the English ar- 
rived, a few days after the retreat of the French, they 
saw nothing but the blackened chimneys of the con- 
sumed houses, standing as grim sentinels amid the sur- 
rounding ruin. These chimneys were permitted to 
stand for years, and gave the name of Chimney Point 
to that locality ; a name it yet retains. . 

At the present day Lake Champlain is regarded as 
extending as far up as Whitehall, but among the 
early writers its head was knocked about in a manner 
most perplexing to modern readers. Kalm, who visited 
the lake in 1749, fixes upon Crown Point as the head, 
and speaks of that portion south of Crown Point, as 
" the river which comes out of the lake St. Sacrement 
to Lake Champlain." Doctor Thatcher, who was with 
St. Glair's army in 1777, considers the lake to reach no 
further south than Ticonderoga, and refers to South 
Bay as extending from that place to Skeenesborough 
" a distance of about thirty miles." By several the 
passage between Ticonderoga and Skeenesborough was 


called South River. Some writers have run the head 
of the lake as far up as the falls of Wood Creek, in the 
present village of Whitehall, while others describe 
Wood Creek as running as far north as the outlet of 
Lake George. I refer, at this time, to this difference 
of opinion among the early writers to guard the reader 
against the confusion which it has frequently produced 
and to explain an occasional discrepancy, apparently, 
between this work and the narratives of the events 
here collected. 

Two miles north of Crown Point, and on the same 
side of the lake is Port Henry, and about eleven miles 
farther north is North-west Bay, called Bay du Rockers 
Fendus, in Sauthier's map of 1779. The village of 
Westport stands at the foot of this bay. On the op- 
posite side of the lake, about ten miles north of Crown 
Point, is a small bay in which Arnold grounded and 
burned his galley and five gondolas after the engage- 
ment with the English, of the loth October, 1776. 
Otter Creek, called by the French la riviere aux Loutres 
empties into the lake about seven miles north of this 
spot. The creek is navigable for lake vessels as far up 
as the falls of Vergennes, a distance of eight miles. In 
this creek Macdonough fitted out the fleet with which 
he gained the victory of the llth of September, 1814. 
During the last war a small breast-work was thrown up 
on the north side of the creek at its mouth, where 
Lieutenant Cassin of the Navy, and Captain Thornton 
of the Artillery, with two hundred men, repulsed a 
large British force, sent out from Canada to destroy 
the American fleet fitting out at Vergennes. A few 
miles north, and on the opposite side of the lake, is 
Split Rock, called by the French rocher fendu. This 
rock has always been considered a great natural curios- 
ity. It projects one hundred and fifty feet into the 
lake, and is elevated about thirty feet above the level 
of the water. The part detached contains half an acre, 
and is separated from the main rock by a channel about 
fifteen feet wide. The popular opinion is, that this 
rock was separated from the main land by an earth- 


quake, *but Professor Emmons, who examined it par- 
ticularly, supposes the separation to have been occa- 
sioned by the wearing away or decomposition of a mass 
of rock containing a large amount of pyritous iron. 

The lake between Split Rock and Thompson's Point, 
formerly called Point Regiochne, is not quite one mile 
wide. A light-house has been erected by the general 
government, upon the main land, a few rods south of the 
rock. From this point the lake increases in width as 
it extends towards the north. Between Essex and 
Charlotte, four miles north, it is three miles wide. 
Opposite Burlington it is nine and three-quarters 
miles, and from shore to shore, opposite Plattsburgh, 
about thirteen miles wide. 

Between Essex and Charlotte is Sloop Island, so 
called because an English vessel of war, during the 
revolution, fired upon it, mistaking, in the fog, the 
stump of a pine tree standing near its centre for the 
mast of a sloop. A short distance below Essex, on the 
New York side, is the mouth of Bouquet river. At 
the falls, two miles up this river," Burgoyne encamped 
and gave a war feast to a party of about four hundred 
Indians, previous to his attack on Ticonderoga in 1777. 
Fourteen miles north-east from Essex and on the op- 
posite side of the lake, is the city of Burlington. About 
midway between these two places are four small islands 
called the Four Brothers. They are called Isle de 
quatre vents on Charlevoix's map of 1744 and the Four 
Winds Islands on Sauthier's map. Two and one-half 
miles south of Burlington is Pottier's Point, called 
Erkly's by Sauthier. It forms the west side of the 
mouth of Shelburne bay. Three miles south-west of 
Burlington is Juniper Island, on which stands a light- 
house erected in 1826. 

North-west from Juniper Island and near the west 

* In the winter of 1663 there was a severe earthquake in Canada. 
" Lakes appeared where none ever existed before; mountains were 
overthrown ; rivers sought other beds or totally disappeared. The 
earth and the mountains entirely split and rent in innumerable places, 
creating chasms and precipices, whose depths have never been ascer- 
tained." Jesuit's Journal, Quebec, 1663. 


shore of the lake is Schuyler's Island, called by the 
French, Isle An Cltapon. Under this island Arnold 
collected his fleet on the morning of the 12th of Octo- 
ber after his retreat from Valcour Island. A little to 
the south of this island is Douglass' Bay, called Gorlear 
by the French and Indians. It is supposed by some 
that the humane and noble Corlear was drowned in this 
bay in 1667. 

A mile to the north of Schuyler's Island is a bold 
promontory called Point Trembleau. At the foot of a 
small bay, formed by this point, stands the village of 
Port Kent, and about two miles to the north are the 
mouths of the Great and Little A usable rivers, which 
empty into the lake near a sandy point, called point 
Au Sable. Six miles farther north and half a mile 
from the main shore lies the island of Valcour, or Va- 
leur, as it is sometimes called. This island is celebrat- 
ed on account of a severe naval engagement fought 
near it between the Americans and English on the llth 
day of October, 1776.* One mile north of Valcour is 
St. Michel's, or Crab Island, and about three miles far- 
ther north is the mouth of the Saranac river, called 
Salasanac on Sauthier's map. The village of Platts- 
burgh lies on both sides of this river at its mouth. 
Three miles east from Plattsburgh is Cumberland 
Head, on which a light-house has been erected. Cum- 
berland Head was called by the French Cape Scoumon- 
ton or Scononton. It extends about three miles into 
the lake in a southerly direction, and forms Cumber- 
land Bay. This bay was the scene of Macdonough's 
naval victory of the llth of September, 1814. To the 
east of Cumberland Head is a large island called Grand 
Isle. The Lamoille river empties into the lake on the 
Vermont side near the south end of this island. Eight 
miles south of the Lamoille is the mouth of the Wi- 
nooski. North of Grand Isle, and separated from it 

*A light-house has been erected upon the western side of the 
island, and nearly opposite is a bold promontory called Bluff Point, 
upon which a spacious hotel is being erected (1888-9) for a summer 


by a narrow channel, is another large island called 
North Hero. This is the Isle Longue of the French. 

Twelve miles north of Cumberland Head, and lying 
between North Hero and the western side of the lake 
is Isle La Motte. This island was named after Sieur la 
Mothe, a French officer who built a fort on the north 
end of the island in 1665, called Fort St. Anne. It 
was afterwards called Fort la Mothe. Kalm says this 
was a wooden fort or redoubt, standing on the west 
side of the island near the water's edge. It had disap- 
peared when he passed through the lake in 1749, but he 
was shown the spot where it stood, which he describes 
as then " quite overgrown with trees." Opposite the 
north end of this island, and on the New York side, is 
the mouth of the Little Chazy river, and a short dis- 
tance further north is the mouth of the Big Chazy. 
These rivers are called Chasy on a map of the survey 
of the lake made in 1732, and were originally named 
from Lieut, de Chasy, a French officer of distinction 
who, in 1665, was killed by a party of Mokawk Indians, 
while hunting in that vicinity. King's Bay lies north 
of the mouth of the Big Chazy. The north side of 
this bay is formed by Point Au Fer, which separates it 
from Rouse's Point Bay. 

Point Au Fer was formerly separated from the main 
shore by a channel or deep morass connecting Rouse's 
Point Bay with King's Bay. Kalm says that the first 
houses he saw, after leaving Fort St. Frederic, were on 
the western side of the lake about ten French miles 
above St. Johns, in which the French had lived before 
the last war, but which were then (1749) abandoned. 
These houses probably stood either on Point Au Fer or 
near the mouth of the Big Chazy river. Prior to the 
revolution a brick house was built on this point, which 
was known as the " White House" It was fortified 
with an entrenchment and cannon by General Sullivan, 
at the time of the invasion of Canada in 1775, and was 
then considered as a very advantageous position to 
command the navigation of the north end of the lake. 
Burgoyne, when he entered the United States, threw a 


body of troops into this place and it was retained by 
the British as a military post until after the Peace. 

Opposite the northern part of Isle La Motte, on the 
Vermont side of the lake, is Alburgh Tongue, called by 
the French, Pointe Algonquin. The entrance to Mis- 
sisco Bay is on the east side of this point. About eight 
miles north of Isle La Motte, also on the Vermont side, 
is Windmill Point. The French built a windmill here 
about the time of the erection of Fort St. Frederic at 
Crown Point, and had collected a small settlement near 
the mill; but the English having burnt the houses 
several times during their incursions into Canada, the 
settlement was at length abandoned. In 1749 nothing 
but the mill, which was built of stone, remained. 

Opposite Windmill Point is the village of Rouse's 
Point. This is the terminus of the Ogdensburg (North- 
ern) Railroad. It is also the terminus of the New York & 
Canada Railway of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Com- 
pany's system of Railroads. The Canada Atlantic also 
lias a station here. A connection is here formed between 
the Ogdensburg and the Vermont & Canada Railroads 
by a bridge and floating draw. The boundary line be- 
tween the United States and Canada, as fixed by the 
Ashburton Treaty of 1842, is about one mile below this 
bridge. This line is located 4,200 feet north of the true 
parallel of the 45 of latitude, and was so established in 
order to secure to the United States the site of an old 
fort commenced by that government soon after the close 
of the war of 1812. 

The parallel of 45 was originally correctly located by 
the French, but, in 1766, Governor Moore and Brigadier 
General Carleton visited Lake Champlain and fixed the 
boundary between Canada and the Province of New 
York about two and a half miles below Windmill Point, 
which Governor Moore says was further to the north- 
ward than they expected to find it from the observa- 
tions said to have been made by the French some years 
before. Moore's line was recognized as the true one 
until about the year 1818, when, on taking new observa- 
tions, it was found to be too far to the north. As soon 


as the error was discovered the United States suspend- 
ed work on the fort, and the unfinished walls were long 
known as " Fort Blunder." Since the treaty of 1842 a 
new and larger fort has been built on the site of the old 
one, called Fort Montgomery. 

Fort Montgomery stands at the foot of the lake. 
Here the river Richelieu commences and conveys the 
waters of the lake to the St. Lawrence. This river, 
for several years after the first settlement of Canada, 
was called the river of the Iroquois. Charlevoix says 
it was afterwards called the Richelieu on account of a 
fort of that name which had been built at its mouth, 
in 1641. This outlet of Lake Champlain is also called 
the Sorel or Chambly River. 

Three and a half miles below the boundary line is 
Bloody Island, said to be so called on account of the 
murder of two lumbermen who were killed there by a 
party of soldiers sent out from Montreal to protect 
them from the Indians, on their return to the lake after 
having sold a raft of timber. Three-fourths of a mile 
below Ash Island or Isle aux Tetes. One mile below 
Ash Island is Hospital Island and six miles lower down 
the river is Isle Aux-Noix, where the French established 
a military post on their retreat from Crown Point in 
1759. Thirteen miles below Isle Aux-Noix is the vil- 
lage of St. Johns. This place was selected for a 
military post by Montcalm in 1758. It was occupied 
by the French prior to 1749. 

About thirteen miles below St. Johns is the village 
and fort of Chambly. A fort was built here by the 
French in 1664, which was called Fort St. Louis. It 
was at first built of wood, but had prior to 1721 been 
replaced by a strong work of stone, flanked with four 
bastions, and capable of containing a large garrison. 
Fort Richelieu, which we have already stated to have 
stood at the mouth of the river, was afterwards demol- 
ished and a new fort built there by Mons. de Sorel, to 
which his name was given. 

Lake Champlain is situate on the western side of a 
valley lying between the Adirondacks of New York 


and the Green Mountains of Vermont. This valley is 
from one to thirty miles in width and about one hundred 
and eighty miles in length, north and south. Its greatest 
depression has been found to be between Westport, 
Burlington and Port Kent. A survey of the lake was 
made in the years 1870-5, when it was found that the 
depression commenced at Crown Point and extended 
as far north as Isle La Motte. The main channel, op- 
posite Port Henry, has a depth of 40 feet ; opposite 
Barber's Point, of 133 feet; opposite Westport, of 220 
feet ; opposite Split Rock, 392 feet ; between Essex 
and McNiels Ferry, 399 feet ; opposite Juniper Island, 
338 feet ; opposite Colchester light-house, 291 feet ; 
opposite Valcour Island, 205 feet ; opposite the point 
of Cumberland Head, 191 feet ; opposite Pointe Au 
Roche light-house, 140 feet, and at the south end of 
Isle La Motte, 86 feet. South of Crown Point the 
depth varies from 15 to 30 feet, and north of Isle La 
Motte from 17 to 27 feet, The broad lake generally 
freezes over in January or February and remains 
closed until the month of March or April. In the 
years 1837, 1872, 1875 and 1884 it was closed by ice 
from 101 to 103 days. It was closed 7 days only in 
1834, and was not frozen over during the years 1828, 
1842 and 1850. The average duration of ice in the 
broad lake for 69 years, was 68 1-2 days. As soon as the 
broad lake closes ' between Port Kent and Burlington 
the channel opens at Rouse's Point. 

Mr. Colvin states the mean level of the lake 
for eleven years 1871 to 1881 to have been 96,- 
561-1000 feet above tide. It is the popular opinion 
that the waters of the lake are gradually subsiding, 
but I judge this to be a mistake for the reason that the 
soundings made one hundred years ago do not differ 
materially from those of the present day. The water 
in the bays and along the shores is not as deep as it 
was formerly, from the washing of the banks and the 
deposit of earth, saw-dust and rubbish brought down 
by the creeks and rivers, but the surface is probably as 
high above tide as it was when the lake was first 


visited by Champlain in 1609. It is evident, however, 
from an examination of the adjacent shores and rocks, 
that the lake at one time filled a much larger portion 
of the valley than it does at present. Geologists sup- 
pose this entire valley to have been twice occupied by 
the ocean but these speculations are of but little in- 
terest to the general reader, who, usually, is satisfied to 
take things as they have existed for the last five thou- 
sand years. 

This lake has ever been celebrated for the beauty of 
its scenery and the bold and imposing configuration of 
the surrounding country. Upon the eastern side, the 
valley is wide and fertile, until we pass Mount Inde- 
pendence, going south, when the hills approach the 
lake, and, in some places, rise abrupt from its shores. 
On the New York side, the mountains in many places 
extend to the water's edge, as in the case of the Black 
Mountains south of Ticonderoga ; the Kayadnrosseras 
range which terminates with Bulwagga Mountain near 
Crown Point ; the northern end of the West Moriah 
range at Split Rock, and of the Adirondack Mountains 
at Trembleau Point, near Port Kent. These several 
ranges run from the lake in a south-westerly direction, 
increasing in altitude as they recede, and presenting a 
scene at once bold and beautiful ; hill after hill rising 
gradually above each other, until the highest peaks at- 
tain an elevation of five thousand feet. From the west 
the snow-crowned rocks of Mount Marcy, old White 
Face, and half a dozen other giants among the hills, 
look down in solemn grandeur on the lake ; while, on 
the east, the eye passes over green fields to trace along 
the horizon the clear blue outline of Jay's Peak, Old 
Mansfield's " Chin " and " Nose," and Camel's Hump, 
the poetic Lion Couchant of the French.* 

* The following are the elevations, above tide, of some of the peaks 
seen from Lake Champlain. 

On the New York side, Mt. Marcy 5,344 feet. Dix's Peak, 4,916; 
Nipple Top, 4,604; Whiteface, 4,871; Raven Hill, 1,902; Bald Peak, 
2,120; Lyon Mountain, 3,809 (Colvin). 

On the Vermont side, The Chin, 4,348; The Nose, 4,044; Camel's 
Hump, 4,083; Jay's Peak, 4,018; Killington Peak. 3,924. 


The original Indian name of Lake Champlain has 
been a subject of much speculation and research. By 
some it is supposed to have been called Peta-wa-bouque, 
meaning alternate land and water, in allusion to its nu- 
merous islands and projecting points of land. Among 
the other names ascribed to the lake are Caniaderi 
Garunte, the door or mouth of the country ; Petow-par- 
gow, the great water, and Ska-ne-togh-ro-wah-na, the 
largest lake. These names, however, seem to have been 
selected more from the peculiar aptness of their meaning 
than from any known application to the lake itself. 
The early French writers do not refer to its Indian 
name, but speak of the lake as the passage that leads 
to the country of the Iroquois. Among the papers pub- 
lished in O'Callaghan's Documentary History of New 
York in relation to the old French Grants on Lake 
Ghamplain, is a letter from Governor Tryon to Lord 
Dartmouth, in which he states that this lake is called 
on Blain & Ogelby's and other ancient maps the " mer 
des Iroquois," the Richelieu river " riviere des Iro- 
quois," and the tract on the east side of the lake " Iro- 
scosia." From this it has been conjectured that the 
lake was called Yroquois by the Indians. But this is 
explained by Charlevoix, who says that the name was 
given to the river and lake by the French because the 
Mohawk Iroquois were in the habit of passing through 
their waters in their incursions into the French planta- 
tions on the St. Lawrence. Champlain affixed his own 
name to the lake during his exploration of its shores in 
July, 1609. It was, at a later day, sometimes called 
" Lake Corlear," in honor of a Dutchman who, in 1766, 
saved a party of French and Canada Indians from being 
destroyed by a war party of the Mohawks, and who, 
the year after was accidentally drowned there while on 
his way to Canada. 

In the following chapters I propose to collect many 
facts connected with the history of Lake Champlain. 
No part of the United States is more interesting from 


its historic incidents. Every bay and island of the 
lake and nearly every foot of its shore has been the 
scene of some warlike movement the midnight foray 
of the predatory savage, the bloody scout of frontier set- 
tlers, the rendezvous of armed bands or the conflict of 
contending armies. These stirring incidents extend in 
tradition far beyond the first discovery of the lake, and 
are brought down, by scattered and unconnected history, 
in an almost uninterrupted series of strifes and conten- 
tions, to the close of the war of 1812. 



Progress of discoveries by the French in Canada Character of the 
Indian tribes Cham plain's visit to Lake Chain plain in 1609 Bat- 
tle between the Canada Indians and the Iroquois Fort erected on 
Isle La Motte De Courcelle's Expedition to the Mohawk River. 

BUT little progress was made by the French iu their 
American discoveries until the spring of 1534, when 
Jacques Cartier sailed from France with two small ves- 
sels and, in the month of May, reached Bonavista in 
Newfoundland. Cartier coasted around the north shore 
of the island and along the gulf of St. Lawrence and, 
in September, returned to France. The following year 
he left France with three ships and, entering the mouth 
of the St. Lawrence, ascended that river as far as the St. 
Croix (St. Charles) near the Indian village Stadacona 
(Quebec), where he passed the winter. While his 
party were preparing their winter quarters, Cartier, 
with thirty-five armed men, proceeded up the river as 
far as Hochelaga (Montreal), where he arrived on the 
second day of October. 

" Hochelaga," says Warburton,* " stood in the midst 
of great fields of Indian corn ; it was of a circular form, 
containing about fifty large huts, each fifty paces long 
and from fourteen to fifteen wide, all built in the shape 
of tunnels, formed of wood, and covered with birch bark ; 
the dwellings were divided into several rooms, surround- 
ing an open court in the centre, where the fires burned. 
Three rows of palisades encircled the town, with only 
one entrance ; above the gate, and over the whole 
length of the outer ring of defence, there was a gallery, 
approached by flights of steps, and plentifully provided 
with stones and other missiles to resist attack. This 

* Conquest of Canada, Volume 1. 


was a place of considerable importance, even in those 
remote days, as the capital of a great extent of country, 
and as having eight or ten villages subject to its sway. 
The inhabitants spoke the language of the Great Hu- 
ron nation and were more advanced in civilization than 
any of their neighbors ; unlike other tribes, they culti- 
vated the ground and remained stationary." This was 
Hochelaga in 1534. Seventy years later it had sunk 
into a decayed and unimportant place. 

On the llth of October Cartier rejoined his party at 
St. Croix, and, the following spring, returned to France. 
Early in the spring of 1541 he again sailed for America 
and, entering the St. Lawrence, passed up that stream 
as high as the rapids of Lachine. The next spring he 
returned to Europe and soon afterwards died. No effort 
was made by the French to colonize Canada, after the 
return of Cartier and his associates, until the year 1603, 
when an armament was fitted out, under the command 
of Pontgrave, to make further dicoveries in the St. 
Lawrence. Among the officers who accompanied this 
expedition was SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN, a captain in 
the French navy and a native of Saintonge. Pontgrave 
and Champlain explored the St. Lawrence as far as the 
Lachine Rapids, which was the highest point reached by 
Cartier sixty-eight years before. In 1604 Champlain 
accompanied De Monts to Canada and again returned 
to France in the fall of that year. 

In 1608, De Monts, who was at the head of a trading 
company, equipped two ships at Honfleur, and sent 
them out under the command of Champlain and Pont' 
grave, for the purpose of establishing the fur trade at 
Tadousac. Champlain reached Tadoussac on the 3d 
day of June, and, after a brief stay there, ascended the 
St. Lawrence, and on the 3d day of July arrived at the 
ancient village Stadacona, which he selected as the site 
of the future capital of Canada. 

When the French first visited Canada the Indians 
residing north of the river St. Lawrence were engaged 
in war with the Five Nations of Indians who occupied 
the territory south of the St. Lawrence. The Five Na- 


tions were a powerful confederacy, consisting of the 
Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Cayugas, the Onondagas 
and the Senecas. They called themselves the Aganu- 
schioni, or United People.* The French called them 
the Iroquois ; the Dutch the Maquas. By the Dela- 
\vares they were called Mingoes. Lafitau gives them the 
name of the Agonnonsionni, as does Charlevoix, who 
says, " Leur nom propre est Agonnonsionni, qui vent 
dire, Fraiseurs de Cabannes ; parcequ'ils les batisseut 
beaucoup plus solides, que la plupart des autres sau- 
vages."t In 1712 the Tuscaroras, who had been driven 
from the south by the English, were admitted into the 
confederacy, which was afterwards known as the " Six 

Prior to the settlement of Canada by the French the 
Iroquois occupied all the country south of the river St. 
Lawrence and resided in numbers around Montreal 
and in the valley of Lake Champlain, but they had 
been driven off towards Lake Ontario by the Adiron- 
dacks, who lived near the Three Rivers. The success 
of the Adirondacks was of short duration, for soon 
afterwards they, in their turn, were driven from their 
ancient seats to a safer position below Quebec. In 
1608 the Iroquois resided upon the banks of the Mo- 
hawk and in several villages to the west of that river. 
They claimed the whole country lying on both sides of 
Lake Champlain, as far north as the St. Lawrence. 
The northern bank of the St. Lawrence was held by 
the Algonquins, the ancieift and inveterate enemies of 
the Iroquois. The Hurons, a numerous nation residing 
west of Lake Ontario, were in alliance with the Algon- 
quins and joined them in their wars against the Iro- 

The Iroquois were powerful, politic, warlike and cour- 
ageous. They have been termed among Europeans 
the Romans of the West. Charlevoix says the name 

* Governor Clinton's discourse before the N. Y. Historical Society. 

t Charlevoix, Tom 1. 

t Gordon. 

Warburton, Vol. 1. 


of Iroquois was formed from the Indian ffiro, which 
means 2 have said, with which these Indians always fin- 
ished their speeches, and de koue, a word often used by 
them and which, when pronounced with a drawl was a 
cry of grief, and, when spoken short and quick, one of 
exultation.* They lived in villages, around which 
they had extensive cultivated fields. These villages were 
enclosed with strong quadruple palisades of large tim- 
ber, about thirty feet high, interlocked with each other, 
with an interval of not more than half a foot between 
them. On the inner side of the palisades were galleries 
in the form of parapets defended* with double pieces of 
timber.! The Algonquins were a warlike nation and 
the most polished of the northern tribes. They were 
a migratory people, disdaining the cultivation of the 
soil and depending altogether on the produce of the 
chase. The Hurons had some slight knowledge of hus- 
bandry, but were more effeminate and luxurious than 
the other tribes, and inferior in savage virtue and inde- 
pendence. J They lived in villages, of which tlie nation 
possessed twenty, but which were inferior in construc- 
tion and strength to those of the Iroquois. 

When Champlain landed at Quebec lie found the 
Algonquins and Hurons engaged in active war with the 
Mohawks, one of the oldest and most powerful branches 
of the Five Nations. Learning from some Indians who 
visited his encampment in the winter, that they in- 
tended an inroad into the country of their enemy in the 
course of the approaching summer, he determined to 
accompany them, and, by that means, not only explore 
a river and large lake through which the war party 
would pass, but by his powerful assistance strengthen 
the friendship which then existed between the French 
and the neighboring Indians. For this purpose, on the 
18th of April, 1609, he left Quebec on board a pinnace 
accompanied by a small party of followers, and ascend- 
ing the St. Lawrence as far as the mouth of the Riche- 

* Charlevoix, Tome 1. 

t Champlain's Voyage de laNouv: France. 

t Warburton, Vol. 1. 


lieu, passed up that stream to the foot of the rapids 
near Chambly. Here a war party of sixty Algonquins 
and Hurons joined him, and commenced preparations 
for the incursion. 

It would seem that it was Champlain's intention to 
take his whole party with him, but the men, intimidated 
by the small number of the Indians or from some other 
cause, refused to proceed any further, and, after the 
strongest appeals on the part of Cham plain, but two 
would accompany him. With these alone he deter- 
mined to join the Indians on their long and perilous ex- 
pedition. All their arrangements being completed, 
Cham plain and his two companions, on the 2cl of July, 
embarked with the Indians in twenty-four canoes and 
that day proceeded up the river to a point about nine 
miles above the island of St. Theresa, where they en- 
camped for the night. The next day they continued 
on as far as the lake, which they entered on the follow- 
ing morning, and coasted along its west shore until 
they came within two or three days' journey of the 
place where they expected to meet the enemy. After 
this they travelled only by night, each morning retiring 
into a barricaded camp to pass the day. The party 
advanced with the utmost caution, keeping their canoes 
close together, and making no noise which might be 
heard by the enemy should they happen to be near. 
During the whole journey they used no fire but lived 
upon dried Indian meal soaked in water. 

Champlain, in his account of this expedition, par- 
ticularly refers to the superstition of the Indians and 
the importance they attach to dreams.* Whenever he 
awoke they would eagerly inquire whether he had 
dreamed of or seen their enemies. One day, while the 
part)' lay concealed near Crown Point, Champlain fell 

* The Indian trusts tohts dreams and invariably holds them sacred. 
Before he engages in any important undertaking, particularly in war, 
diplomacy, or the chase, the dreams of the principal chiefs are carefully 
watched and examined; by their interpretation Im conduct is guided. 
In this manner the fate of a whole nation has often been decided by 
the chance vision of a single man. Conquest of Canada, Volume 1, 
page 192. 


asleep and thought he saw the Iroquois drowning in the 
lake within sight of the encampment. On awaking he 
related the dream to the Indians, which, he says, 
gained such credit among them that they no longer 
doubted but they should meet with success." That 
same night about ten o'clock, while proceeding cau- 
tiously along, they met a war party of the Iroquois, who 
were passing down the lake in canoes. 

As soon as the two parties discovered each other the 
Iroquois hastened to the shore and, having first secured 
their canoes, began to cut down trees and form a bar- 
ricade. The others pushed out towards the centre of 
the lake and proceeded to fasten their canoes together, 
and then secured them, with poles, in a position with- 
in arrow-shot of the barricade. Two canoes were then 
sent towards the shore to inquire whether the Iroquois 
wished to fight, who answered they did, but proposed, 
as it was then dark, that the battle be deferred until 
morning. To this the Algonquins and Hurons agreed 
and both parties passed the night in singing and taunt- 
ing their rivals with cowardice and imbecility. Cham- 
plain and his two companions were equipped in light 
armor, and each carried an arquebus. They were 
placed in different canoes and kept themselves con- 
cealed from sight, lest the Iroquois might be alarmed 
at their appearance and decline the combat. 

On the following morning an engagement took place 
which is thus recorded by Champlain.* " The mo- 
ment we landed they (the Algonquins and Hurons) 
began to run about two hundred paces toward their 
enemies who stood firm, and had not yet perceived my 
companions, who went into the bush with some savages. 
Our Indians commenced calling me in a loud voice, and, 
opening their ranks, placed me at their head, about 
twenty paces in advance, in which order we marched 
until I was within thirty paces of the enemy. The 
moment they saw me they halted, gazing at me and I 
at them. When I saw them preparing to shoot at us, 
I raised my arquebus, and, aiming directly at one of 

* Voyages de la Nouv: France. 


the three chiefs, two of them fell to the ground by this 
shot, and one of their companions received a wound of 
which he died afterwards. I had put four balls in my 
arquebus. Our party on witnessing a shot so favorable 
for them, set up such tremendous shouts that thunder 
jould not have been heard ; and yet, there was no lack 
of arrows on one side and the other. The Iroquois 
were greatly astonished at seeing two men killed so 
instantaneously, notwithstanding they were provided 
with arrow-proof armor woven of cotton thread and 
wood ; this frightened them very much. Whilst I was 
re-loading, one of my companions in the bush fired a 
shot, which so astonished them anew, seeing their 
chiefs slain, that they lost courage, took to flight and 
abandoned the field and their fort, hiding themselves 
in the depth of the forests, whither pursuing them I 
killed some others. Our savages also killed several of 
them and took ten or twelve prisoners. The rest 
carried off the wounded. Fifteen or sixteen of our 
party were wounded by arrows ; they were promptly 

This battle was fought on the 30th of July, near 
what Champlain describes as " the point of a Cape 
which juts into the lake on the west side." Some writ- 
ers have located the battle-ground on Lake George. 
Doctor Fitch* thinks it took place upon one of the 
points of land in the town of Dresden or Putnam, south 
of Ticonderoga ; but, from an examination of Cham- 
plain's map 01 New France,! it is evident that the en- 
gagement took place somewhere between Crown Point 
and Lake George, probably in the town of Ticondero- 

As soon as the victorious party had gathered the 
weapons and other spoils left behind by the Iroquois. 
they embarked on their return for Canada. After pro- 
ceeding about eight leagues down the lake they landed, 
after night fall, when the Indians put one of their pris- 

* Historical Survey of Washington County. 

t A copy of this map will be found in Vol. 3 of O'Callaghan's Doc- 
umentary History of New York. 


oners to death with the most horrible and protracted 
tortures. The rest of their prisoners were taken to 
Canada. At the rapids of the Richelieu the party sep- 
arated and the Indians returned to their homes, well 
satisfied, says Champlain, with the result of the ex- 
pedition and uttering strong professions of gratitude 
and friendship for the French.* 

The above is, in substance, Champlain's narrative of 
the first visit of civilized man within the limits of the 
state of New York. Two months later Henry Hudson 
entered New York Bay and ascended the North River 
as far as the present village of Waterford.f Thus were 
the northern and southern sections of the state almost 
.simultaneously explored' by the European. How un- 
like was the subsequent fate of these bold explorers. 
Hudson returned to Europe in the autumn of the same 
year, and, in April, 1810, again sailed in search of un- 
known lands. It was his last voyage. Steering west- 
ward from Greenland he discovered and passed through 
the straits now known by his name, and entered Hud- 
sen Bay. He decided to winter upon the border of 
this bay, but the sailors mutinied, and placing him and 
a few others, who remained faithful, in an open boat, 
and abandoned them to the mercy of the waves. No 
trace of the brave captain, or his companions, was ever 

After the departure of the Indians Champlain re- 
turned to Quebec. He continued Governor of Canada 
until 1629, when he surrendered the government to 
the English and returned home. In 1632 Canada was 
restored to France, and, the next year, Champlain was 

* Charlevoix and most English writers say that Champlain, on this 
expedition, ascended a rapid and passed into another lake afterwards 
called Lake St. Sacrament. Champlain. in his account, says the In- 
dians told him of a waterfall and of a lake beyond, three or four 
leagues long, and adds that he saw the waterfall, but says nothing of 
the lake. Had he explored the lake he would not have represented it 
as only three or four leagues long. 

t Hudson first entered New York Bay in September 1609. He sailed 
up the river as far as Albany and embarking in small boats continued 
on to Waterford, where he arrived on the 22d of that month. 


re-appoined Governor of the colony ; which situation 
he continued to hold until his death, at Quebec, in 

Champlain was brave, high-minded, active and gen- 
erous, and eminent for his Christian zeal and purity. 
" The salvation of one soul," he often said, " is of more 
value than the founding of a new empire." During 
his life he fostered Christianity and civilization and suc- 
ceeded in planting them among the snows of Canada. 
The only great mistake of his administration was an 
injudicious interference in the quarrels between the 
Indians. By this means he directed the hostility of 
the warlike Mohawks against the French, and created 
an implacable hatred on the part of that powerful nation, 
which time could not heal, nor the blood of a thousand 
victims soften. The Mohawks never forgot that fatal 
30th of July, 1609. The names of the three chiefs who 
then fell at the fire of the Frenchman's arquebus were 
not appeased until rivers of blood had flowed beneath 
the tomahawk of the avenger. For every feather in 
the waving plumes of those chieftains a bloody scalp 
was counted for every triumphant shout of the 
victorious Hurons and Algonquins, in after years, an 
answering shout was returned. 

Mons. de Montmagny succeeded Champlain as Gov- 
ernor of New France. In 1641 he erected a fort at the 
mouth of the Richelieu, as a protection against the re- 
peated inroads of the Indians by the way of Lake 
Champlain. M. de Montmagny was succeeded by M. 
D' Ailleboust, in the course of whose administration, of 
three years,* the Iroquois made several inroads into 
the territory of the Hurons and drove them from the 
fertile banks of the Ottawa. These victories of the 
Iroquois rendered them more audacious than ever. 
Breaking a solemn treaty of peace made with M. de 
Montmagny several years before, they again appeared 
among the French settlements, despising forts and 

* Tlie Governors of New France held office for three years only ; 
in consequence of a decree that no one man should hold tlie govern- 
ment of a colony for more than that length of time. Warburton. 


impunity. In their attacks no force was too strong for 
them to overcome ; no hiding place too secret for them 
to discover. So great, at length, became the audacity 
of these savages that they suddenly fell upon a body 
of Algonquins, under the very guns of the fortress of 
Quebec, and massacred them without mercy. 

A dark and unpropitious gloom hung over the affairs 
of the colony until the arrival of the Marquis de Tracy, 
as viceroy, in 1664. M. de Tracy brought with him 
the Carignan-Salieres, a veteran regiment which had 
greatly distinguished itself in the wars against the 
Turks** Immediately on the arrival of these troops 
they were sent, accompanied by the allied Indians, 
against the Iroquois and soon cleared the country of 
those troublesome enemies. Having established peace 
throughout the colony, M. de Tracy prepared to adopt 
measures to make that security permanent. The hos- 
tile Indians had been accustomed to approach the 
French settlements by the way of Lake Champlain and 
the Richelieu River, and to effectually block up this 
avenue three Captains of the Carignan regiment, MM. 
de Sorel, de Chambly and de Salieres, were ordered 
to erect forts on that river. 

M. de Sorel built a fort at the mouth of the river, on 
the site of old fort Richelieu erected by de Montmagny 
in 1641. M. de Chambly built a fort at the foot of the 
rapids, in the present village of Chambly, which he 
called fort St. Louis, and M. de Salieres built one nine 
miles above, which he named St. Theresa, because it 
was finished on that Saint's day. The next year M. 
de La Mothe, another Captain in the Carignan regi- 
ment, was sent to Lake Champlain to construct a fort on 
an island near the lower end of the lake, which was 
intended to serve as a place of rendezvous, "from 
which continual attacks could be made on the enemy ."-j 
This fort was called St. Anne. 

*This regiment was raised in Savoy by the Prince of Carignan in 
1644, and was subsequently incorporated in the French army. When 
ordered to America it was placed under the command of Col. de 
Salieres hence its double name, Carignan-Salieres. 

t Relations, etc., de la Nouv: France. 


As soon as tidings of the erection of these forts 
reached the Iroquois, three of those tribes sent deputies 
to Quebec with proposals of peace. M. de Tracy gave 
them a friendly audience and sent them back with 
valuable presents. 

About the same time he determined to invade the 
country of the Mohawks, who with the Oneidas, re- 
mained stubborn and inflexible, and inflict summary 
punishment upon them for their former insolence and 
treachery. With this view M. de Courcelles was 
ordered to fit out a military expedition with the utmost 
dispatch. On the 9th of Jan., 1666, he started with 
three hundred men of the regiment of Carignan- 
Salieres, and two hundred volunteers, habitant, for 
Fort St. Theresa, which had been designated as the 
place of rendezvous. The weather was so severe that 
before they had advanced three days' journey many of 
the men would have perished, had they not been carried 
along by their companions. On the 24th Sieurs de la 
Fouille, Maximin and Lobiac, Captains of the Carignan 
regiment, joined the army with sixty men and some 
habitant, but before they reached St. Theresa so many 
men had become disabled that it was necessary to with- 
draw four companies from the forts on the Richelieu 
to supply the vacancies in the ranks. 

On the 30th of January De Courcelles marched out of 
Fort St. Theresa at the head of five hundred men, and 
passing the lake on the ice, crossed the country towards 
the Mohawk villages. The snow was nearly four feet 
deep, and the men were obliged to use snow-shoes to 
pass over it. As horses could make no progress through 
the deep snow, a large number of slight sledges were 
prepared which were loaded with provisions and dragged 
along by the men, or by large dogs brought on for that 
purpose. Each man, including all the officers, carried 
upon his back from twenty-five to thirty pounds of bis- 
cuit or other supplies.* The intention of the French had 

Relations de ce qui s'est passes en la Nouv. France en annees 


been to march direct against the Mohawk villages, but 
having lost their way, through the ignorance of their 
guides, they turned too far to the south, and on the 9th 
of February arrived within two miles of Schenectady, 
where they encamped. Here they were met by a small 
party of Mohawks, who, pretending to retreat, were 
carelessly pursued by sixty of the French Fusileers, 
who were thus drawn into an ambuscade of about two 
hundred Indian warriors securely posted behind the trees 
of the forest. At the first volley of the Indians eleven 
of the French, including a Lieutenant, were killed and 
several wounded. The fusileers discharged their pieces 
and immediately fell back upon the main body of the 
army, while the Indians retired with a loss of three 
killed and six wounded, taking with them the scalps of 
four Frenchmen, which they exhibited in the streets of 
Schenectady. It is said the whole company of fusileers 
would have been massacred, but for the intercession of 
Corlear. a Dutchman greatly beloved by the Mohawks, 
who humanely interceded in their behalf.* 

Information of the approach of the French having 
been sent to Fort Albany by the authorities of Sche- 
nectady, three of the principal citizens were sent to M. de 
Courcelles to inquire what were his intentions in invad- 
ing the country belonging to the English. De Cour- 
celles replied that he had no desire to molest the Eng- 
lish in their possessions, but came solely to seek out and 
punish the Mohawks, who were the unrelenting ene- 
mies of the French. He also represented to them the 
state of his army, worn out with fatigue and hunger, 
and requested that they would sell him provisions and 
consent that be might send his wounded to Albany. 
The English readily assented to do as he desired, and 
the next day seven wounded Frenchmen were sent to 
Albany. The inhabitants also carried large quantities 
of beans, bread and other provisions to the French camp, 
for which they were liberally paid. 

De Courcelles, having rested his men until the 12th 

* Gordon says -the whole of De Courcelles' party would have been 
destroyed but for intercession of Corlear. 


suddenly broke up his camp and hastily retraced his 
steps to Lake Champlain and irom thence to Canada. 
The Mohawks, who were at i>eir first village, learning 
the retreat of the French, immediately started in pursuit 
and followed them as far as the lake, where they took 
three prison ere and found the bodies of five men who 
had perished of cold and hunger.* 

The expedition of M. de Courcelles, although it had 
failed to reach the Mohawk villages, through the mis- 
take of the guides, caused much anxiety to the Indians, 
nor were their fears diminished by the information com- 
municated by the prisoners that M. de Tracy intended 
to send a much larger force into their country the next 
summer. To avert the threatening storm, they deter- 
mined to make immediate overtures of peace. Accord- 
ingly, in June, 1666, ten ambassadors from the Mo- 
hawks, accompanied by a delegation of Oneidas, re- 
paired to Quebec asking protection for their people 
and a renewal of the old treaties of peace. M. de Tracy 
at first refused to receive their wampum belts, but per- 
ceiving that this caused them great anxiety, he finally 
accepted their proposals. But while the negotiations 
were in progress at Quebec, and just as the French 
viceroy began to congratulate himself upon the future 
security of his colony, a tragedy took place on Lake 
Champlain, which for the time defeated his plans and 
destroyed all his confidence in the professions of the 
Indian deputies. 

Fort St. Anne was at this time garrisoned by several 
companies of the Carignan regiment, one of which was 
commanded by Sieur de Chasy, a nephew of the vice- 
roy. Apprised of the friendly professions of the Mo- 
hawks and their desire for peace, the ambassadors of 
that nation having passed the fort on their way to 
Quebec, the officers relaxed their usual vigilance and 
amused themselves by fishing and hunting in the 
neighborhood. While a small party of French officers 
and soldiers were thus engaged, they were suddenly 

* London Document IL In 1st Volume Documentary History of 
New York. 


attacked by a baud of Mohawk Indians, who killed two 
Carignan captains de Travesy and de Chasy, and took 
several volunteers prisoners. Information of this treach- 
erous act was immediately sent to Quebec, and one of 
the Indian deputies had the vain audacity to boast, at 
M. de Tracy's table, that he had slain the officers witli 
his own hand. The Indian was seized and strangled 
on the spot ; and M. de Tracy, breaking off .ill negoti- 
ations, sent M. de Sorel, at the head of three hundred 
men, against the Mohawk villages with orders to over- 
run the whole country and to put every inhabitant to 
the sword. M. de Sorel had by forced marches crossed 
Lake Champlain, and was pushing rapidly towards the 
Indian villages,when he was met by a new deputation 
from the Mohawks, bringing back the Frenchmen taken 
prisoners near Fort St. Anne and offering every satis- 
faction for the murders committed there. 

Still desirous to secure peace, and in the belief that 
the demonstration already made had over-awed the In- 
dian, M. de Sorel retraced his steps to Quebec, where 
negotiations were again resumed with such success that, 
on the 12th of July, a treaty was signed by which the 
Indians agreed to restore the Canadian, Algonquin and 
Huron prisoners in their hands, and to become the fast 
friends and allies of the French. On the other part, the 
viceroy promised to extend his protection over their 
nation, " to send some black-gowns (Jesuit missionaries) 
among them" and "to open a trade and commerce by 
the lake du Saint Sacrement." * 

* Relations, en annees, 1665 6. 



M. De Tracy collects a large army at Isle La Motte lie marches 
against and destroys the Mohawk villages Condition of Canada 
De Callieres' project for the invasion of New York Burning of 
Schenectady Captain John Schuyler's attack upon Fort Laprairie 
Major Philip Schuyler's expedition to Canada De Frontenac 
marches against the Mohawks. 

WAR is the delight of the savage. It furnishes an 
excitement necessary to his happiness. Without it he 
pines and wastes in insufferable quiet ; a restless, mis- 
erable being. To gratify his passion for war he does 
not hesitate to violate the most sacred treaties or break 
the ties of long continued friendship, " We must 
either," says Sir William Johnson,* " permit these peo- 
ple to cut each other's throats, or risk their discharging 
their fury on our traders and defenceless frontiers." 

M. de Tracy soon found that he could only secure 
permanent peace and quiet to the colony, by an expe- 
dition into the Mohawk country, of such force as to 
make that implacable nation feel the destructive power 
of the French Arms. With such an army he now pre- 
pared to march against the Indian villages on the Mo- 
hawk River. Never had Fort St. Anne presented so 
lively a scene as was beheld there in September, 1666. 
Witliin the fort and close under its defences were col- 
lected six hundred veterans of the Carignan-Salieres, 
while on the main shore opposite lay encamped an 
equal number of volunteers, Haitians of the colony. 
One hundred Huron and Algonquin warriors, bedaubed 
with paint and bedecked with feathers, stalked majesti- 
cally among the crowd, and rendered the night boister- 
ous with their war songs and dances. The labor of 
preparing this expedition, the largest which had yet 
been collected on Lake Champlain, was confided to M. 
Talon, Intendant of New France. 

* Letter to Earl of Hillsborough. 


On the 1st of October, M. de Courcelles started from 
the fort at the head of four hundred men. On the 3d 
the main body of the army moved off under the imme- 
diate command of M. de Tracy, who despite his ad- 
vanced years, was determined to lead the expedition in 
person. Four days afterwards Sieurs de Chambly and 
Berthier followed with the rear guard. The progress 
of the army, after it reached the upper end of the lake, 
was slow and laborious, as the men dragged with them 
two small pieces of cannon and three hundred bateau 
or bark canoes, which had been provided for crossing 
the lakes and rivers on the route. It was De Tracy's 
intention to surprise the Indians before they should 
learn of his advance ; but, notwithstanding the great 
caution of the troops, the Mohawks received timely in- 
formation of their approach, and, abandoning the vil- 
lages, secreted themselves in the surrounding forests, 
or ascended the mountains, and from a distance fired 
random shots at the soldiers. The French found the 
cabins of this nation larger and better built than any 
they had seen elsewhere. The villages were surrounded 
by a triple palisade twenty feet in height, newly repaired 
and strengthened and flanked by four bastions. Large 
quantities of Indian corn, beans and other provisions 
were stored away in magazines sunk in the ground, 
and numerous bark tanks filled with water stood about 
the enclosure to supply the inhabitants with water, and 
to extinguish fires when necessary. Everything indi- 
cated that the Indians intended to make a strong de- 
fence, had they not been intimidated by the strength 
and numbers of the invaders. But as it was, not a 
warrior or able-bodied man was to be seen ; they had 
fled, leaving behind only the women and a few old and 
decrepit men, too feeble to escape. These M. de Tracy 
retained as prisoners. In this manner he passed through 
the whole country until he reached the most remote 
Mohawk village, which he burned. After celebrating 
Mass and returning thanks to God for the success of 
the enterprise, the French retraced their steps towards 
Canada, on their way burning the other villages and 


detroying all the provisions they could not carry off.* 
While the army was passing near Schenectady on 
its return, M. de Courcelles called upon Corlear, who 
it will be remembered had rendered the French such 
signal service the preceding winter, and invited him 
to visit Canada. On Lake Champlain the fleet of boats 
encountered a heavy storm, which capsized two canoes 
with eight persons on board, all of whom were unfor- 
tunately drowned. Among the persons thus lost were 
Corlear and Lieut. Sieur de Luges, an officer of great 
merit and distinction.! 

The expedition of M. de Tracy effectually subdued 
the Mohawks, and, for the next twenty years, secured 
the settlements on the St. Lawrence from the inroads 
of that nation. But Canada was not destined long to 
enjoy the blessings of profound peace. Ten years had 
scarcely elapsed before she found herself again engaged 
in a destructive war with the Western Iroquois, which 
continued, with short intervals of truce and with varied 
success, until the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. For sev- 
eral years after the commencement of this war the 
English colonists were on friendly terms with those of 
Canada, and repeatedly refused to aid the Western 
Iroquois in their controversy with the French. They 
were equally careful to do nothing to prevent it. " The 
Five Nations are a bulwark between us and the French." 
said Governor Dongan.J That bulwark was strongest 
in war. In times of peace it might crumble into atoms. 
The Jiccession of William and Mary to the throne of 
England, in 1689, was followed by a war between the 
English and French, which continued until the peace 

* Relation, etc., en la Nouv. France, en annees!665 6. 

t The accounts of these expeditions through Lake Champlain do 
not clearly indicate the route followed by the French, but it was 
. probably along the western border of the lake as far south as the 
outlet of Lake George, then up the outlet and through that lake to 
its head, from whence it crossed the country to the waters of the 
Hudson River. In the treaty between the French and Iroquois, re- 
ferred to at the close of the proceeding chapter, it was expressly pro- 
vided that trade and commerce be opened to the Iroquois, with New 
France, " by the lake du saint Sacrement." 

| Dongan's Report to the Committee of Trade, 1687. 


of Ryswick in 1697. The news of the quarrel between 
the mother countries soon reached America, and found 
the colonists of both nations, not only willing, but 
anxious to participate in the struggle. The Chevalier 
de Callieres, who was Governor of Montreal and Com- 
mander-in-chief of the troops and militia in Canada, 
visited France in the year 1689, and submitted to the 
King a project for the reduction of the Province of New 
York, tlie re-establishment of French ascendency over 
the Five Nations, and the consequent control of the lu- 
crative fur trade of America. 

De Callieres' plan was to lead an army of two thou- 
sand men up the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain 
as far as the carrying place between Wood Creek and 
the Hudson River, he would build a small log 
fort, and garrison it with two hundred men to guard 
the bateau during his absence. With the rest of his 
army he would march direct against Fort Orange 
(Albany) which he would seize, and then, embarking 
in the boats and canoes found there, would push on for 
New York. This town he represented as containing 
two hundred houses, protected by a small fort which 
could offer but a slight resistance to his attack. To 
prevent succor reaching the town from Boston or Eng- 
land, he required that two ships of war should be sent 
to cruise in the mouth of the river until his arrival. De 
Callieres predicted the highest benefits to France from 
the success of his project. "It will," he declared, 
" firmly establish the Christian religion as well among 
the Iroquois as among the other savages to whom we 
shall be able to speak as masters, when they are encir- 
cled on the side of Canada as well as of New York. It 
will secure and facilitate the cod-fishery, which is car- 
ried on along our coasts of Lacadie and on the Great 
Bank. It will give His Majesty one of the finest har- 
bors in America which can be entered during almost 
all seasons of the year, in less than one month of very 
easy navigation." Accept the favorable opportunity 
which presents itself of becoming masters of New York, 
adds de Callieres in conclusion, and the trade of our 


Colony will flourish ; reject it and English intrigues 
with the Iroquois and other savages will destroy Canada 
in a little while.* 

The French King received de Callieres with favor 
and in June of the same year sent instructions to 
Count de Frontenac, then viceroy of Canada, to organ- 
ize an expedition to carry out the proposed plan, and 
directed that De Callieres should be appointed Governor 
of the conquered Province. The King also ordered 
Sieur Begon to send out two ships of war under com- 
mand of Sieur de la Caffiniere, who was instructed to 
place himself under the direction of de Frontenac. 
Should the proposed expedition fail, de Caffiniere was 
ordered " to make war against the English, and to 
range along the coasts of New England and New York, 
to capture as many prizes as possible, and to remain 
there until he have no more provisions than are neces- 
sary for his return to France."! 

While the French were engaged in prosecuting the 
war with the Indians at the west they seem to have 
been regardless of the exposed state of the frontier 
towards Lake Champlain. The old forts of St. Anne 
and St. Theresa, which had proved so great a protec- 
tion twenty years before, were suffered to decay. Mont- 
real was not fortified ; a triple palisade, in poor repair, 
being its main -defence. Indeed the only work in that 
quarter of any strength was the fort at Chambly, which 
had been rebuilt of stone and was surrounded by a small 
but flourishing settlement. On the 12th of November, 
1687, a formidable party of the Iroquois suddenly 
attacked this fort. The garrison made a successful 
resistance, but the settlement around was ravaged and 
several of the inhabitants taken prisoners. A few days 
later the whole country between the St. Lawrence and 
the Richelieu swarmed with a savage host, who de- 
manded immediate audience with the Governor, M. de 
Denonville, and haughtily dictated peace to the weak 
and terrified inhabitants. " Look," cried the proud 

* De Callieres to the Marquis of Seiguelay. January, 1689. 
t Instructions to Count de Frontenac, June 7th, 1689. 


Chief, pointing towards a band of fvvelve hundred war- 
riors at his back, " we are like the leaves of the forest 
in number and stronger than the mighty oak. Your 
people are few and weak. We have no occasion to lift 
our whole hand, for our little finger is sufficient to 
destroy you." Denonville bowed before a storm he 
could not resist, and concluded a treaty of peace upon 
the terms proposed by the savages. 

Of short duration was this boon of peace to the 
French, the acceptance of which alike proclaimed their 
own humiliation and the power of their savage foe. 
On the 26th of July, 1688, twelve hundred Indian war- 
riors landed on the island of Montreal, and having 
overpowered a force of one hundred and fifty Canadians 
and fifty Indians imprudently sent against them, devas- 
tated the whole settlement, killing nearly a thousand 
of the inhabitants and carrying two hundred of them 
into captivity.* The St. Lawrence frontier was nov 
at the mercy of the fierce and relentless Iroquois. The 
power of the French was paralyzed ; trade languished, 
agriculture was interrupted and the very existence of 
the colony threatened. 

Such was the gloomy condition of affairs when the 
instructions of the King, for an invasion of New York, 
reached the Count de Frontenac. The troops in Canada 
consisted of thirty-five companies of regulars, each 
of which, when full, numbered fifty men. But at least 
four hundred and fifty were required to fill the ranks, 
so that the actual number did not exceed thirteen hun- 
dred.! Of. the habitans, about three thousand were 
able to bear arms.J Although de Frontenac could not 
send out an expedition of the magnitude and strength 
proposed in his instructions, he nevertheless determined 
to organize three small detachments to march against 
the English. One was to rendezvous at Montreal and 
was to proceed against Albany, another was to assemble 

Gordon Warburton, Vol. 1. 

t De Callieres to the Marquis of Seignelay. 

t Tliis was the estimated number in 1687. It had probably decreased 
during two succeeding years See Gov. Dongan's Report to Board of 


at Three Rivers, from whence a descent was to be made 
upon the settlements near the Connecticut, and the third 
was to start from Quebec to attack the settlements, on 
the seaboard, east of Boston. 

The party which left Three Rivers surprised and 
destroyed the English settlement of Salmon Fulls and 
on their retreat, falling in with M. de Mamerval, who 
had marched from Quebec, joined him in an attack on 
the fortified village of Kaskebe upon the sea coast, 
which they captured after a severe struggle.* 

The third and most important detachment numbered 
two hundred and ten men, including ninety-six Huron 
and Algonquin Indians. This detachment was placed 
under the command of two Canadian officers, Sieur la 
Moyne de St. Helene and Lieutenant Daillebout de 
Mantet, having under them D'Iberville and De Mon- 
tesson. Attached to the expedition as volunteers were 
Sieurs de Bonrepos iind de la Brosse, two Calvinist offi- 
cers, and Sieurs de Blainville and de Montigny. The 
party left Montreal about the middle of the month of 
January 1690, crossing to the Richelieu and ascending 
that river and Lake Cham plain on the ice. At the 
close of the sixth day's march a consultation was held to 
determine the route to be taken and to regulate the 
plan of attack. The Indians asked where the officers 
proposed to lead them. To tin's De St. Helene replied 
that he had received no orders to march against any 
particular place, but generally to act as he should think 
best, and that he wished to attack and surprise Fort 
Orange, which he represented as the capital of New 
York and a place of considerable importance. The 
Indians, remembering the defeats of the French during 
the preceding year, and holding their prowess in slight 
esteem, opposed this plan as rash and impracticable. 
"Attack an armed fort indeed," cried a swarthy war- 
rior sarcastically, " Since when have the French be- 
come so desperate ! " k ' We wish to regain our honor, 
" replied de Mantet, " or perish in so glorious an enter- 
prise." The Indians, however, remained unconvinced 
* Warburton, Vol. 1. 


and the party moved on without coming to a decision. 
Eight days after this the party reached the point 
where the two routes to Albany and Schenectady di- 
verged. The Indians took the road leading towards 
Schenectady, and the French followed without objection. 
Nine days afterwards they arrived, about four in tho 
evening, within two miles of that place. Here the 
savages were addressed by one of their Chiefs, who 
urged them to lose all recollection of their fatigue and 
to prepare to take ample. revenge for the injuries they 
had received from the Iroquois at the instigation of the 
English. Having remained here to refresh themselves 
and prepare their arms, the party moved on, and about 
11 o'clock came within sightof the village. The night 
was intensely cold and the citizens had retired early to 
bed even those who usually guarded the gates of the 
palisade had withdrawn, leaving those avenues open 
and undefended. In profound silence the Canadian 
officers marched into the village and distributed their 
forces among the scattered houses. As soon as each 
man was properly posted, the savages raised the war 
cry and the whole force rushed upon the unconscious 
inhabitants. De Mantet, at the head of one party, as- 
asulted a small fort which he captured and burned; 
putting to death all who defended it. De St. Helene 
rushed against the barricaded doors of the private 
houses, beating them down with muskets and slaughter- 
ing every one who opposed his progress. In the con- 
fusion, M. de Montigny was wounded by the thrust of 
a spear. The massacre lasted for two hours, and dur- 
ing that time sixty of the inhabitants, including women 
and children, were butchered in cold blood. Having 
pillaged and burned every house in the village but two, 
the French and Indians, early the next morning, started 
on their return to Canada taking with them twenty- 
seven prisoners and carrying off fifty horses, besides a 
quantity of other property.* 

*M. de Monseignat's account. In this account it is stated that 
"some twenty Mohawks were spared, in order to show them that it 
was the English and not they against whom the grudge was enter- 


The news of this murderous assault reached Albany 
about five o'clock the next morning, and created the 
greatest consternation among its inhabitants. Alarm 
guns were fired from the fort, messages were sent to 
Esopus for assistance, and Laurence, a Mohawk chief 
then in Albany, hurried to the Mohawk castles to 
bring down the warriors of that nation. In three days 
a party of fifty young men from Albany and one hun- 
dred and fifty Indians were collected at Schenectacly, 
and started in pursuit of the retreating marauders. At 
Crown Point the young men gave out, but Laurence 
and his Indians continued on as far as Canada and suc- 
ceeded in overtaking a party of Canadians, who had 
dropped to the rear of the main body, of whom they 
killed six and took twelve prisoners. 

The accounts given by these prisoners were of the 
most startling nature. Count de Frontenac, they said, 
was busily engaged preparing for an invasion of New 
York. He had already built one hundred and twenty 
batetiux and one hundred birch canoes, and intended, 
in the spring, to pass up Lake Champlain at the head 
of fifteen hundred regular troops and one thou- 
sand allied Indians. Letters were now addressed, by 
Lieutenant-Governor Liesler, to the Governors of the 
different Provinces, calling earnestly for aid to protect 
the exposed frontier beyond Albany. The Five Na- 
tions were also assembled in council and agreed to fur- 
nish eighteen hundred warriors to fight the French. 

Nor were the authorities of Albany idle. On the 
26th of March they ordered Captain Jacob d' Warm to 
proceed to Crown Point with seventeen English and 
twenty Indians, and there watch the movements of the 
enemy. Four days later Captain Abram Schuyler was 
sent, with nine men and a party of Mohawks under 
Laurence, to take post at Otter Creek, for a similar 
purpose. Captain Schuyler, while posted at Otter 
Creek, led a scout of eight Indians as far as Chambly, 
where he encountered a small party of the French, of 
whom he killed two and took one prisoner.* 
* Documentary History of New York. 


About the 10th of April, one of the parties on Lake 
Champlain sent in word that they had discovered the 
track of twelve French and Indians, proceeding in the 
direction of Albany. Warning of danger was immedi- 
ately sent throughout the country and the inhabitants 
were advised to retreat into the neighboring towns for 
safety. Two families, residing near Schenectady, neg- 
lected the advice and were attacked during the night 
and eleven of their number killed or captured.* 

The fear that this success might excite the French 
to further outrage hastened the preparations of the 
New York Colonists for the invasion of Canada. On 
the 1st of May an agreement was concluded between 
the provinces of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New 
York by which each was to furnish its quota of troops 
for the expedition.! At the urgent request of New 
England the command of the expedition was conferred 
upon John Winthrop. 

A naval expedition was also fitted out by the Col- 
onists and sent against Quebec, under command of Sir 
William Phipps. 

The army under Major-General Winthrop, number- 
ing eight hundred men, left Albany about the 1st of 
August and proceeded on its march as far as Wood 
Creek. There Winthrop waited a few days for the 
promised reinforcements of Indians, but these not ar- 
riving, nor furnishing a supply of canoes to cross the 
lake, as they had promised to do, he called a council of 
war, who decided it inexpedient to proceed further. 
The expedition was therefore abandoned and the troops 
returned to Albany, where they were disbanded. 

Attached to Winthrop's army was Captain John 
Schuyler of Albany, a man of great bravery and energy 
of character and of considerable experience in border 
warfare. Schuyler was dissatisfied with the decision of 
the council of war, which he considered weak and cow- 

* Documentary History of Yew York. 

t New York was to furnish four hundred men; Massachusetts, one 
hundred and sixty; Connecticut, one hundred and thirty-five, and 
Plymouth, sixty. Maryland promised one hundred men. 


urdly, and declared the campaign should not be aban- 
doned so easily. Beating up for volunteers he soon 
gathered around him a little band of twenty-nine fol- 
lowers, each as bold and daring as himself. To these 
he added one hundred and twenty Indians who had ar- 
rived at the cam}) under command of Juriaen, called the 
ferocious, and having loaded a number of canoes with 
provisions, proceeded, on the 13th of August, as far as 
Canaghsionie (probably Whitehall) where he encamped 
for the night. The next day he again embarked with 
his party and on the 21st of the month reached a point 
"one mile below the sand bank of Chambly."* In the 
course of the journey one of the Indians died. " He 
died of sickness," adds the brave Captain, evidently 
surprised that so quiet a death should be reserved for 
a Mohawk. 

On the 22d the little party, having first secreted 
their canoes and provisions, started by hind for Laprai- 
rie, which lay on the south shore of the St. Lawrence 
River about fifteen miles distant. While Schuyler was 
slowly approaching Laprairie, the inhabitants of that 
place were having a gala day in honor of their Gov- 
ernor, the brave old Frontenac, who having learned 
from his scouts that Winthrop's army had retired, was 
marching with eight hundred men to Quebec, to repel 
the threatened attack of Sir William Phipps in that 
quarter. Little did the quiet husbandmen imagine, as 
they sat near their doors at evening, chatting over the 
stirring incidents of the day, repeating to listening ears 
the wonders each had seen, and, perhaps, rejoicing at a 
security which the departure of the troops seemed to 
confirm, that a band of fierce and determined warriors 
lay secreted under the trees which bordered the little 
.settlement, ready with the morrow's sun to bring de- 
struction and death about those rude but happy homes. 

* Schuyler in his journal of this expedition gives- the Indian names 
of several localities on Lnke Champlain. On the 16th the party, he 
tells us, reached Kanomloro, and, traveling all night, arrived the next 
morning at Oyhraro. The next night they travelled as far as Ogha- 
ronde, where " they determined by the majorities, to fall upon Fort 


Early on the morning of the 23d Schuyler sent for- 
ward his spies, who soon returned with the informa- 
tion that the inhabitants were leaving the fort to go 
into the fields to cut corn. It was Schuyler's intention 
to wait quietly until they reached the fields and then 
place his party between them and the fort, so as to in- 
tercept their retreat, but, through the eagerness of 
some young savages, the war cry was prematurely 
raised and both the English and Indians rushed to 
the attack without waiting for orders. The French, 
taking alarm, hastily retired to the fort, but not until 
six of their number were killed and nineteen taken 
prisoners. As soon as the prisoners were secured the 
assailants fell upon the cattle feeding around the fort 
and killed one hundred and fifty head of oxen and 
cows. They also set fire to all the houses and barns 
outside the fort, which were speedily consumed. The 
English wished to attack the fort itself, but did not do 
so, as the Indians refused to aid them. The forts at 
Montreal and Chambly now answering the alarm guns 
fired at haprairie, Schuyler hastened his departure, 
lest his retreat might be cut off ; but, before leaving, 
his Indians burned the body of one of their number, 
who had been killed during the affray. 

The party retreated about seven miles, when they 
halted for dinner. The same evening they reached the 
river and embarked in their canoes. The next day 
they went as far as the ruins of old Fort St. Anne and, 
on the loth, stopped on the long sand point near Port 
Kent, where they killed two elk. The next day's jour- 
ney took them to a place which Schuyler calls " The 
Little Stone Fort,"* from which a canoe was sent for- 
ward with the news. On the 27th the party reached 
the mouth of Wood Creek, and on the 31st arrived with 
their prisoners at Albany, f 

During the winter of 1690-91 the New 5Tork Colonists 

*This was probably a sligbt work thrown up byCapt. de Warm at 
Crown Point the March previous, or one erected at Ticonderoga by 
Capt. Sanders Glen while he was waiting there for the advance of 
Winthrop's array. 

t Journal of Capt. John Schuyler. 


were too much occupied with their internal disputes to 
give much attention to military affairs. In the spring 
however their difficulties ceased, and active measures 
were at once adopted to carry on the war with Canada. 
The frontier posts of Albany, Schenectudy and Half- 
Moon were repaired, the Militia reorganized and a con- 
ference held with the Five Nations, with whom the 
French emissaries had begun to tamper. The Indians 
not only promised to abandon all negotiations with the 
French, but pledged themselves to make Avar upon that 
people so long as they should live. An expedition was 
now planned against Canada ; the English Colonists 
wisely concluding that the only way to secure the co- 
operation of the savages was to give them active em- 

On the 22d day of June, 1691, Major Philip Schuy- 
ler left Albany at the head of one hundred and fifty 
English and three hundred Indians, and crossing Lake 
Champlain by the route taken by his brother Capt. 
John Schuyler, appeared, unexpectedly, before Fort La- 
prairie, which he carried by surprise, killing several of 
its defenders. DeCallieres, then Governor of Montreal, 
hastily collected eight hundred troops and crossed the 
river, when the English retreated to the woods, where 
they met and destroyed a small detachment sent for- 
ward to cut off their retreat. A short time afterwards, 
M. de Valrenes coming up with a large force, a severe 
and desperate battle was fought between the two par- 
ties. Schuyler posted his men behind trees, and, for 
an hour and a half, withstood the fire and repelled the 
charges of the Canadian troops. In this engagement 
the loss of the English was trifling, while not less than 
two hundred of the French were killed or wounded. 
Schuyler, fearing to be overpowered by superior num- 
bers, now hastily withdrew and returned to Albany. 

The favorable result of this expedition gave a new 
impetus to the warlike temper of the Iroquois and, 
strengthened their friendship for the English. These 
Indians, for the next two years, so harassed the French 
that De Frontenac determined again to invade their 


territory. For this purpose he collected a force of six 
or seven hundred French and Indians and, about the 
middle of January, 1693, set out from Montreal, for the 
Mohawk valley. The march, upon the frozen surface 
of the lake and through the deep snows of the forest, 
was attended with great hardships, yet such was the 
energy of the invaders that early in February they 
passed Schenectady unobserved, and falling suddenly 
upon the first Mohawk village, killed many of the iiu 
habitants and took more than three hundred prisoners. 
As soon as the intelligence of this incursion reached 
Albany, Major Schuyler collected a party of about three 
hundred men, principally Indians, and started in pur- 
suit of the assailants, who, according to their custom, 
had retreated immediately after the attack. Schuyler 
continued the pursuit as far as the Hudson, and would 
have overtaken the enemy had not a severe storm of 
snow and wind prevented his crossing the river. As 
it was he succeeded in recapturing about fifty of the 
prisoners, with whom he returned to Albany. The 
sufferings of those engaged in this expedition were so 
great that the Indians fed upon the dead bodies of the 
enemy, and the French were compelled to eat their own 

Although the contest between the French and Eng- 
lish continued several years longer, this was the last 
expedition of any importance which entered the valley 
of Lake Champlain during this war. The peace of 
Ryswick, in 1697, was soon followed by a formal treaty 
between the French and the Five Nations. 

* Gordon. 



Indian Depredations on the Frontier Forts built by the New York 
Colonists on Wood Creek Two Expeditions organized against 
Canada Condition of the Country about Lake Champlain The 
French build a Fort at Crown Point French Grants on the Lake 
Troubles among the New York Colonists Attempt to settle the 
Lands lying between the Hudson River and Lake Champiain. 

THE history of events connected with Lake Champlain 
brings us down to the year 1709. During " Queen 
Anne's War," which commenced in 1702, the frontier 
towns of New England were severely scourged by ma- 
rauding parties from Canada. Deerfield was destroyed 
in 1704 by a party of three hundred French and In- 
dians under command of the inhuman De Rouville.* 
In 1708, a party of four hundred men, including savages, 
crossed the almost impracticable mountains of Ver- 
mont and New Hampshire, and attacked the little fort, 
and village of Haverhill which, after a sharp defence, 
they carried and reduced to ashes. 

These and other repeated and unprovoked aggres- 
sions at length aroused the British Ministry who, in 
1709, at the earnest solicitation of the colonists, adopt- 
ed a plan for the conquest of the French possessions in 
America. This plan contemplated an attack by water 
upon Quebec, whilst fifteen hundred men, from New 
York and the New England Provinces, were to attempt 
Montreal by the way of Lake Champlain. The inhabit- 
ants of New York entered cordially into the scheme. 
They not only furnished their quota of troops, but sev- 
eral volunteer companies were organized to join the 

* This expedition followed the route up Lake Champlain to the 
Winooski and then ascended that river and crossed the mountains to 
the Connecticut. On their return they secreted the " bell of St. 
Regis " in the sands of Burlington, where it remained until the follow- 
ing spring, when it was taken to Canada. 


expedition. The Five Nations, through the exertions 
of Col. Peter Schuyler, were induced to take up the 
hatchet and to send five hundred warriors into the field. 
New York, also, at her own expense, opened a road 
from Albany to Lake Champlain, which greatly facili- 
tated the movements of the troops and the transporta- 
tion of supplies. 

This road commenced near the present village of 
Schuylerville and ran up the east side of the river to 
Fort Edward, and thence by the way of Wood Creek 
to the head of Lake Champlain. It ran the whole way 
through a dense forest. Along the route three forts 
were erected; one on Wood Creek near the present 
village of Fort Ann ; another at the commencement of 
the carrying place between the Hudson River and 
the head of Wood Creek, which was at first called Fort 
Nicholson ; and a third on the summit of one of the hills 
opposite Schuylerville. These forts were built of tim- 
ber and were surrounded by palisades so constructed as 
to protect the garrisons from the fire of musketry. One 
hundred bateaux and a large number of canoes were 
built at the mouth of Wood Creek for the transporta- 
tion of the troops across Lake Champlain. All the ar- 
rangements for the campaign being complete, the army 
left Albany under the command of Col. Nicholson and 
encamped at Fort Ann, where they awaited intelligence 
of the arrival of the expedition destined for the attack 
of Quebec. 

These demonstrations on the part of the English Col- 
onists created great alarm among the inhabitants of 
Canada, who were but ill prepared to resist the large 
force which threatened both extremes of the Colony. 
A council of war was called by M. de Vaudreuil, under 
whose advice a force of fifteen hundred men was sent 
to Lake Champlain to oppose the advance of Nichol- 
son's army ; but a misunderstanding between the 
Governor General and some of his principal officers 
embarrassed the enterprise and ultimately caused the 
army to return. 

The two expeditions against Canada proved equally 


abortive. The fleet destined for the attack of Quebec 
was sent to Lisbon instead, to support the Portuguese 
against the power of Castile, while Nicholson's army, 
discouraged by delays and almost decimated by a malig- 
nant and fatal malady which broke out in the camp,* 
returned to Albany, where they were soon afterwards 

In 1711 preparations were again made by the Colon- 
ists for the invasion of Canada. Colonel Nicholson, 
under whom served Colonels Schuyler, Whitney and 
Tngoldsby, mustered at Albany a strong force compris- 
ing two thousand English, one thousand Germans and 
one thousand Indians, who, on the 28th of August, 
commenced their march towards Lake Champlain, 
taking the Lake George route, instead of the unhealthy 
one by the way of Wood Creek, which had proved so 
fatal to the troops on the former expedition. At the 
same time an army of six thousand four hundred men, 
under Brigadier General Hill, sailed from Boston on 
board of sixty-eight transports, under convoy of Sir 
Hovedon Walker, for a simultaneous attack on Quebec.f 

As soon as M. de Vaudreuil received intelligence of 
these movements he hastened to Quebec, and, having 
strengthened its defences, confided to M. de Bou- 
court the responsible duty of resisting the debarka- 
tion of the English troops, and then returned to the 
rescue of Montreal. But the plans of the invading 
array were destined to be again defeated. The British 
Admiral had neglected the warnings of an experienced 
French navigator, named Paradis, who accompanied 
him, and approached too near a small island in the 
narrow and dangerous channel of the Traverse. While 
embarrassed amid its rocks, a sudden squall scattered 
the fleet, driving eight of the vessels on the shore, 

* This sickness is said to have been caused by the Indians who 
poisoned the waters of the Creek. But Doctor Fitch in his " Survey 
of Washington County " questions the truth of this accusation, and 
presumes the malady to have been a malignant dysentery, brought on 
by the troops drinking the stagnant water which flowed into the 
creek from the surrounding marshes. 

t Gordon. 


where they were wrecked.* Chai'levoix says nearly 
three thousand men were drowned, whose bodies were 
afterwards found scattered along the banks of the river. 
After this severe disaster the Admiral bore away for 
Cape Breton, and the expedition was abandoned. The 
advance corps of Nicholson's army had scarcely reached 
the head of Lake George, when intelligence arrived of 
the failure of the northern expedition. Orders were at 
once given for their return to Albany. 

These two abortive attempts upon Canada cost the 
Province of New York, alone, over thirty thousand 
pounds sterling. Their failure disheartened the Colon- 
ists and chilled for a time the affections of the Five 
Nations, who began to look upon the English as a weak 
and cowardly people. The situation of the New York 
Colonists was now most critical. Clouds of adversity 
lowered darkly over the Province. The river Indians 
became restless and evinced a strong and growing dis- 
position to break their allegiance ; the Five Nations 
listened favorably to the renewed propositions of peace 
from the French, who threatened an invasion of the 
Province by sea and land. Happily these impending 
evils were averted by the treaty of Utrecht, which was 
concluded in the spring of 1713. By this treaty the 
French King released his nominal sovereignty over the 
Iroquois and recognized their country as subject to the 
dominion of Great Britain. 

As yet no settlements had been permanently establish- 
ed in the valley of Lake Champlain. Fort St. Anne, built 
in 1665, had been occupied for a few years and then 
abandoned. The " little Stone Fort " mentioned by 
Schuyler in 1690, was a structure of no importance 
except as it served for the immediate protection of 
those by whom it was erected. Fort Ann, erected by 
Colonel Nicholson on Wood Creek in 1709, was burned 
by him on the return of his army to Albany in 1711. 
Kalm saw the remains of the burnt palisades, when he 
passed there thirty-eight years afterwards. In 1713 
Fort Saratoga was the nearest post to the lake on the 
south, and Forts Laprairie and Chambly on the north. 
* Warburton, Vol. 1. 


No settlements were commenced within the present 
limits of Vermont until after the erection of Fort Duni- 
mer, on the Connecticut river, in 1724. 

We have already seen that, from the first settlement 
of the country, Lake Champlain had been used as a 
thoroughfare through which predatory excursions were 
directed against both the French and English frontiers. 
Its control was therefore a matter of great importance. 
No movements was however made to obtain the com- 
mand of this important avenue until the year 1731, 
when the Marquis de Beauharnois, then Governor 
General of Canada, erected a fort at Crown Point, 
which he called St. Frederic, in honor of Frederic 
Maurepas the, then, French Secretary of State. The 
English claimed the title to the territory on both sides 
of the lake, by virtue of their treaties with the Five 
Nations, and strongly remonstrated against, but took 
no steps to prevent its unauthorized occupation by the 
French. The first work erected by the French was a 
small stockade which could accommodate a garrison of 
30 men only. This was replaced in 1734 by a " redoubt 
a machi coulis," sufficient fora garrison of 120 men. It 
was subsequently enlarged, and in 1742 was, with the 
exception of Quebec, the strongest work held by the 
French in Canada.* 

"Fort St. Frederic," says Kalm, " is built on a rock 
consisting of black lime slates,f and is nearly quad- 
rangular, has high and thick walls, made of the same 
limestone, of which there is a quarry about half a 
mile from the fort. On the eastern part of the fort is 
a high tower, which is proof against bomb shells, pro- 
vided with very thick and substantial walls, and well 
stored with cannon from the bottom almost to the very 
top, and the Governor lives in the tower. In the 
terre plain e of the fort is a well built little church and 
houses of stone for the officers and soldiers. There 
are sharp rocks on all sides towards the land beyond 
cannon shot from the fort, but among them are some 

* Paris document iu Colonial History, 
t Chazy Limestone Emmons. 


which are as high as the walls of the fort and very 
near them. Within one or two musket shots to the 
east of the fort is a windmill, built of stone, with very 
thick walls, and most of the flour, which is wanted to 
supply the fort, is ground here. This windmill is so 
constructed as to serve the purpose of a redoubt and 
at the top of it are five or six small pieces of cannon."* 
Subsequently a trench or wide ditch was dug around 
the fort, on the land side, enclosing the hill referred to 
by Kalm. This trench commenced at the water's edge 
about two rods north and terminated about fifteen rods 
south of the fort. Its greatest distance from the fort, 
in the rear, was thirty rods. An enclosure was also 
erected about twenty-five rods north-west of the fort 
which reached the water's edge and surrounded several 
buildings used for soldier's quarters.! 

Soon after the erection of the fort a settlement of 
considerable size was formed about it, on both sides of 
the lake, composed, principally, of the families of old 
soldiers who had been paid off and discharged from 
service The houses of some of the settlers were con- 
venient and comfortable, but the majority lived in 
mere cabins built of boards. To each soldier in service 
was allotted a small piece of ground near the walls of 
the fort, which was cultivated as a garden, and occa- 
sionally occupied as a summer residence.* 

A small village stood about half a mile southwest of 
the fort, and one-half mile further south was a hamlet, 
containing four houses, surrounded by wheat fields.f 

The boats used by the inhabitants were of three 
kinds; bark canoes, dugouts or canoes made of a log 
of wood hollowed out, and bateaux. The last mentioned 
were constructed with flat bottoms of oak and sides of 
pine, and were used for the transportation of troops or 
supplies upon the lake. When Kalm visited the fort, 
in 1749, a yacht or large sail vessel made regular trips 
between that place and St. Johns in Canada.^ 

* Kalm's Travels in 1749. 

t Journal of the New Hampshire Scout. 

| Kalm says this was the first sail vessel built on the lake. 


Until 1759 St. Frederic was the seat of French power 
on the lake. Here was a rallying point for the fierce 
Abenaquis from the St. Francis, the Arundacks of the 
fertile Ottawa, and the warlike Wyandots of the west 
drawn together by a common love of revenge or the 
hope of plunder. Here the ferocious Outagamis, the 
restless Algonquin and the vindictive Huron met to 
recount their deeds of horrid barbarity. It was a 
strange and varied scene often presented at this 
frontier post. At one moment would be heard the 
vesper bell of the little chapel calling the rude but 
virtuous husbandman, the scarred veteran of France 
and the voluble Canadian to their evening prayers, while 
at the next, the rocky shore would echo to the loud 
whoop of the merciless savage, returning from some 
successful attack upon the neighboring settlements. 
Long had the English Colonists cause to regret the 
want of vigilance and forecast on the part of their 
rulers, which permitted the French to seize and retain 
this, controlling position on the lake. 

We have no data by which to ascertain the exact pop- 
ulation of the French settlements around St. Frederic ; 
but it probably at no time exceeded six or eight hun- 
dred, exclusive of the garrison at the fort. The period of 
the existence of these settlements was confined to the 
twenty-eight years of French ascendency on the lake. 
Prior to 1731, the borders of the lake, in every direc- 
tion, were wild and uncultivated; no building stood 
upon its shores, not an acre of its majestic forest had 
been cleared, nor had its fertile soil been touched by 
the hand of the husbandman. 

The Governor of Canada did not confine the encroach- 
ments on Lake Champlain to the vicinity of Crown 
Point, for, soon after the erection of Fort St. Frederic, 
he issued grants, for large tracts of land lying on both 

In September, 1736, M. de Beauharnois asked permission of the 
King to construct a sloop on the lake if it should be ascertained to 
be navigable for sloops. The King authorized the building of sloops, 
but added " before hazarding their construction it will be well to 
cause the lake to be surveyed, with a view to become acquainted 
with the rocks to be met there.' 


sides of the lake, to several persons holding office under 
the French King. The first of these grants was made 
to Sieur Pean, Major of the town and castle of Quebec, 
on the 10th day of April, 1733, and embraced a tract 
" two leagues or two and a half in front, by three in 
deptli along the river Chambly and Lake Champlain, 
together with the river Chazy included therein and Isle 
a la Motte."* Two days afterwards another grant was 
issued to Sieur St. Vincent, ensign of Foot, for " two 
leagues in front by three leagues in depth on lake 
Champlain,f" and another, on the 20th of the same 
month, to Sieur la Gauchetiere, Captain of Marines, of 
" two leagues front by three leagues deep on said 
lake." $ 

On the 7th of July, 1734, a grant was issued to Sieur 
Contrecour Jr., ensign of Infantry, for a tract of land 
which was described as "beginning at the mouth of the 
Riviere Aux Loutres (Otter Creek, Vt.) one league and 
a half above and one league and a half below, making 
t\vo leagues in front by three in depth, together with so 
much of said river as is found included therein with 
three islets which are in front of said concession and 
depend thereon." On the 20th of the same month, 
another grant was made to Sieur de Beauvis of lands 
"two leagues in front and three in depth on Lake 
Champlain together with the peninsula which is found 
to be in front of said land." In the same month an- 
other was issued to Sieur de la Periere, "beginning 
at the mouth of the river Ouynouski (Winooski) one 
league above and one below, making two leagues front 
by three in depth, with the extent of said river which 
will be found comprehended therein, together with 
the islands and battures adjacent." Also one to Sieur 
Douville, on the 8th of October, 1736 for lands on the 
east side of the lake, " two leagues front by three 
leagues deep; "|| and another on the 13th of June, 

* Now, northern part of the town of Champlain, X. Y. 

( Remainder of Champlain. 

t In town of Chazy, N. Y. 

Now parts of Swanton and Highgate, Vt. 

II Iii town of Georgia, Vt. 


1737, to Sieur Robart, King's Store-keeper at Montreal, 
" three leagues front by two leagues in depth on the 
west side of Lake Champlain, taking in going dv>wn 
one league below the river Boquet and in going up two 
and a half above said river." The island of North 
Hero or Isle Longue was granted to Contrecour, Cap- 
tain of Infantry, and M. Raimbault received a large 
concession north and adjoining the lands granted to 
M. de la Periere. 

These grants were issued subject to forfeiture in case 
the lands were not settled and improved within a cer- 
tain time. This condition not having been fulfilled, 
all but the two last mentioned were re-united to the 
King's domains by an ordinance of the Governor and 
Intendant of Canada of the 10th of May, 1741. The 
grantees gave various reasons why their lands had not 
been settled within the prescribed time. Pean could 
find no farmers to place upon his seigniory, St. Vincent 
had been absent on the King's service, and Contrecour 
had offered very advantageous inducements to settlers, 
including a bonus of three hundred livres, but without 
success. La Fontaine promised to go on to his grant 
immediately with three men, to build there, and was 
willing to furnish grain and money to any who should 
commence a settlement. Sieur Robart had surveyed 
his lands and had neglected no inducements for young 
men to settle upon them. These excuses were not 
satisfactory to the Government Officers. They however, 
declared that patents would be re-issued to any who 
should place settlers on the land within one year from 
that time. This was not done ; but soon after settle- 
ments were formed near the mouth of the Big Cnazy 
river and at Windmill Point,* which were occupied for 
a short time and then abandoned. 

* The first houses I saw after leaving Fort St. Frederic were some 
on the western side of the lake, about ten French miles from St. 
Johns, in which the French lived before the last war and which they 
then abandoned. * * * A Windmill, built of stone, stands on *, 
the east side of the lake, on a projecting piece of ground. Some 
Frenchmen lived near to it. From this mill to Fort St. Johns they 
reckon eight French miles. The English, with their Indians, have 


The lands originally granted to Pean were, in 1752, 
conceded to Sieur Bedon, Councillor in the Superior 
Council of Quebec, and by him afterwards transferred 
to M. de Beaujeu, who owned a seigniory adjoining on 
the north. In April, 1743 and 1745, two patents of 
concession were issued to Sieur Hocquart, Councillor of 
State and Intendant of the naval forces at Brest, for a 
large tract embraced in the present towns of Panton, 
Addison and Bridport, Vt., which Hocquart conveyed 
to Michael Chartier de Lotbiniere in 1764, and in Nov- 
ember 1758, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor 
General of Canada, granted to the same De Lotbiniere 
the seigniory of Alainville embracing over four leagues 
front by five leagues depth and lying partly on Lake 
George and partly on Lake Champlain. 

The aggregate of these concessions embraced more 
than eight hundred square miles of territory. No perma- 
nent settlements were however made under any of the 
grants, except on parts of the seigniories of Hocquart 
and Alainville, in the immediate vicinity of Crown 
Point and Ticonderoga. After the conquest of Can- 
ada the grantees petitioned for a confirmation of their 
titles, but this the British Government refused, at the 
same time, however, declaring that the claimants should 
be entitled to so much of the concessions as should be 
proportionate to the improvements made on them, at 
the rate of fifty acres for every three acres improved, 
provided they took out new grants for the same under 
the seal of the Province of New York, subject to the 
usual quit-rents. No new grant to one person was to 
exceed twenty thousand acres, nor did this privilege 
extend to the grants of La Gauchetiere and others an- 
nulled by the ordinance of the 10th of May, 1741. 

The claimants refused the smaller grants from the 
Province of New York, and declined to pay the re- 
quired quit-rents. They fell back upon the original 
title of the French King who, they contended, first dis- 
covered the country and had held undisturbed posses- 
burned the houses here several times, but the mill remained unhurt 
Kalm in 1749, 


sion of it to the year 1758. To this the authorities of 
New York replied, that the country south of the St. 
Lawrence River belonged originally to the Five Na- 
tions, from whom it passed to the English by virtue of 
a treaty made as early as 1683. That the treaty of 
Utrecht recognized the sovereignty of Great Britain 
over these nations, and that the possession of the 
French at Crown Point was an encroachment on British 
soil, which could confer no title to the French King. 
They also referred to an ancient grant (1696) to God- 
frey Dellius of a large tract along the head of the lake, 
extending upwards of twenty miles to the north of 
Crown Point, as proof that the English had claimed 
the lake to be within their jurisdiction. But the 
strongest position taken against these claims and which, 
considering the weakness of the French title, induced 
the British Government to disaffirm them, was the 
fact that a large portion of the lands covered by the 
French grants were then held by old officers and sol- 
diers of the provincial army, under patents issued 
under the seal of the Province of New York.* 

New York was the central point of English influence 
in America. It held the keys of Canada and of the 
great western lakes. Within its limits burned the 
Council Fire of the Six Nations,! the most powerful 
confederacy ever formed among the Indians ; whose 
sway extended west to the Mississippi, and beyond the 
Ohio on the south. But though strong in position, 
New York was weak in power. Its history, from the 
death of Governor Montgomery in 1731, to the close 
of Mr. Clinton's administration in 1753, is one of 
almost continued distrust and contention between the 
Executive and the Assembly. In this war of party the 
public business of the Province was neglected and the 
security of the inhabitants disregarded. Occasionally, 
however, the Government would awake from its 
lethargy and, for a moment, return to the performance 

*For interesting documents relating to the French Grants on Lake 
Champlaln see Documentary History of New York, Vol. 1. 
tThe Tuscaroras joined the Confederacy iu 1712. 


of its legitimate duties. During one of these periods 
of quiet, a plan was projected for the settlement of the 
wilderness between Lake Cliamplain and the Hudson 
River, to serve as a check upon the French positions 
on Lake Champlain. The Governor issued a proc- ' 
lamation, describing in glowing language, the beauty 
and fertility of the country, and offering the most liberal 
terms to those who might settle there. 

Seduced by this proclamation, Captain Langhlin 
Campbell came from Scotland, in 1737, to examine the 
land, and was so well satisfied with its appearance that 
he returned to Isla, sold his estate and brought over, 
at his own expense, eighty-three Protestant families, 
comprising four hundred and twenty-three adults and 
many children. The Governor of New York had 
promised Campbell a grant of 30,000 acres, free of all 
charge, except those of survey and the usual quit-rents. 
But, on his arrival, the mercenary officers of Govern- 
ment refused to fulfill this engagement, unless they 
were allowed a share in the grant. This Campbell 
refused to give them. A dispute arising between him 
and the Government on this account, in which the As- 
sembly joined with the emigrants, the negotiations 
were broken off. The emigrants were saved from 
starvation by enlisting in an expedition to Carthagena, 
while Campbell, broken down in spirits and fortune, 
sought a home elsewhere. 

The Colonists long had cause to regret the folly of 
the Government in not securing, at this time, the set- 
tlement of their northern frontier. The Protestant 
Highlanders, brought over by Campbell, were a race 
of hardy and industrious people, indued by nature 
and habit with great power of indurance. They would 
have formed a bulwark against the French, who, for 
twenty years afterwards, retained absolute control of 
the lake and sent out, from their stronghold at Crown 
Point, bands of marauders to plunder and devastate the 
frontier settlements.* 

* The fort was erected by the French at Crown Point, as much for 
pff eusive operations as for defence. ' When," writes M. de Beauhar- 



Sir William Johnson's Expedition against Crown Point Battle of 
Lake George The French fortify Ticonderoga Montcalm attacks 
the English at Lake George Massacre at Fort William Henry- 
Defeat of Abercrombie at Ticonderoga English Scouting Parties 
Putnam in trouble. 

NOTWITHSTANDING the repeated depredations of the 
French upon the northern and western frontier, no at- 
tempt was made to weaken their power until 1755. 
On the 14th of April of that year, the Governors of the 
several Provinces met in conference in Virginia, and 
determined upon the plan of a campaign; by which to 
repel the encroachments of the "French upon the 
northern frontier. This campaign contemplated three 
separate expeditions ; one under Sir William Johnson 
agai'nst Crown Point,* another under Governor Shirley, 
of Massachusetts, against Niagara, while Major Gen- 
eral Braddock, the Commander-in-Chief, with a third, 
was to move upon the French Fort on the Ohio. 

The expedition against Crown Point was to be com- 
posed of provincial troops and Indians. But the six 
Nations did not enter into the scheme with their usual 
spirit and alacrity. They were dissatisfied at the long 
continued inaction of the English, which contrasted 

nois to Louis XV., " When in possession of Crown Point the road 
will be blocked on the English should -they wish to pass over our 
territory, and we will be in a position to fall on them when they least 
expect it. Should they on the contrary anticipate us in this estab- 
lishment we could never show ourselves on Lake Champlain except 
with open force, nor make war against them except with a large 
army; whilst, seizing on this fort we could harass them by small 
parties, as we have done from 1689 to 1699 when we were at war 
with the Iroquois." 

*Sir William Johnson's Commission bears date the 16th of April, 
1755, and recites that the troops are placed under his command " to 
be employed in an attempt to erect a strong Fortress upon an emi- 
nence near the French Fort at Crown Point, and for removing the 
encroachments of the French on His Majesty's land there," 


unfavorably with the activity and vigilance of the 
French. Nor had the Indians been backward to ex- 
press their disapprobation. " You are desirous that we 
should open our minds and our hearts to you," said the 
celebrated Mohawk Sachem Hendrick, at one of their 
Councils. " Look at the French : they are' men, they 
are fortifying everywhere ; but we are ashamed to say 
it, you are like women, bare and open without fortifi- 
cations."* This difference in the condition of the two 
countries was the natural result of the characteristics 
and genius of their inhabitants. The English colonists 
were bold, intelligent and self-dependent. They un- 
derstood and cherished the principles of self govern- 
ment. Jealous of their rulers they kept a constant 
watch upon their conduct, refused to vote supplies un- 
less they knew the money would be appropriated for 
the public good, and opposed the erection of forts on 
the frontier, lest their guns might be used to overawe 
the people. On the other hand, France kept her colo- 
nies in a state of dependence upon the Mother Country. 
The Canadians were allowed neither freedom of thought 
nor action. By this means the latter became, as sub- 
jects, more faithful but less independent than their 
neighbors.! France directed forts to be built in the 
wilderness, and her orders were obeyed. England also 
required forts, but, instead of building them, the colo- 
nists questioned their necessity, objected to the expense 
and neglected to provide means for their erection. 

The words of the Mohawk sachem were true. 
When the Governors met at Alexandria, England had 
no works of defence upon her frontier, while the French 
were fortified at Du quesne, Niagara, Crown Point and 
Beau-Sejour. But notwithstanding their avowed re- 

*Documentary History of New York, Vol. 2. 

t" Let us beware how we allow the establishment of manufac- 
tures in Canada ; she would become proud and mutinous like the 
English. So long as France is a nui-sery to Canada, let not the 
Canadians be allowed to trade, but kept to their wandering laborious 
life with the savages, and to their military services. They will be 
less wealthy, but more brave and more faithful to us." Montcalm 
to M. de fierryer ; 1757. 


luctance, the Six Nations at length renewed their cov- 
enant of friendship, and promised to support the Colo- 
nies in the approaching struggle. 

Considerable land carriage had to be encountered in 
passing from the Hudson River to Lake Champhiin. 
The portagt; commenced at the Hudson, near the present 
village of Fort Edward, from whence two routes di- 
verged ; one leading by the way of Fort Ann to the 
mouth of Wood Creek, a distance of twenty-four miles ; 
the other passing by the way of Glen's Falls to the 
head of Lake George, a distance of fourteen miles. 
From the first route a third diverged near Fort Ann, 
which led to the waters of Lake Champlain at the head 
of South Bay. By the aid of boats on Wood Creek 
the portage on the first route was usually reduced to 
from six to ten miles. This portage was called " The 
great carrying place," and was selected as the point 
of rendezvous for General Johnson's Army, from 
whence it was to move to Lake Champlain. 

Early in July Major-General Phinehas Lyman arrived 
at the portage with about six hundred New England 
troops and commenced the erection of a fort, which was 
afterwards called Fort Edward, in honor of Edward, 
Duke of York, the grandson of the English sovereign. 
Johnson reached the camp on the 14th day of August, 
and found the army increased to two thousand eight 
hundred and fifty men, fit for duty. New recruits con- 
tinued to arrive so that the General found himself, by 
the end of August, at the head of thirty-one hundred 
Provincials and two hundred and fifty Indians,* By 
the 3rd of September the main army had reached the 
head of Lake George, while a great number of teamsters 
were engaged in dragging six hundred boats over the 
portage, to be used for the transportation of troops 
across that lake. Here Johnson halted for the boats to 
come up, and to announce the plan of his future opera- 
tions. " I propose," said he, " to go down this lake 
with a part of the army, and take post at the end of it, 
at a pass called Tionderogue, there wait the coming up 
* Johnson to Lt.-Gov. De Lancey. 


of the rest of the army and then attack Crown Point." * 
While the English Commander was thus planning his 
advance upon Fort St. Frederic, the French General had 
left that post and was hastening towards South Bay. 

When General Lyman stopped on the banks of the 
Hudson to await the arrival of the main army, the 
whole available French force on Lake Champlain, did 
not exceed eight hundred men, exclusive of Indians. 
Early in the summer, however, the Baron Dieskau, a 
brave old officer, who had distinguished himself under 
the celebrated Marshal Saxe, arrived at Quebec, ac- 
companied by several veteran regiments from France. 
These troops were immediately ordered to Lake Ontario, 
but Dieskau, hearing that the English were in motion 
towards Lake George, changed his route and passed 
rapidly forward towards Crown Point, where he arrived 
about the 1st of August. For the defence of this fort- 
ress seven hundred regulars, sixteen hundred Canadians 
and seven hundred savages were now assembled.! 

Dieskau left a strong garrison at Fort St. Frederic, 
encamped a portion of his army at Ticonderoga, and 
with six hundred savages, as many Canadians and two 
hundred regular troops, ascended the lake to the head 
of South Bay, and after four days' march, arrived 
within four miles of Fort Edward, on the Lake George 
road. The Indians now refused to proceed further in 
the direction of the fort, but were willing to go against 
the open camp of the English at Lake George. The 
head of the column was therefore turned towards the 

As soon as the English Commander learned that the 
French had left South Bay, he determined, with the 
advice of a council of war, to send a strong party to 
reinforce Fort Edward, then guarded by two hundred 
and fifty New Hampshire troops and five companies of 
the New York regiment.^ This reinforcement consisted 

* Johnson to the Board of Trade. 

t Bancroft's History of U. S. Vol. 4. Baron de Dieskau to Count 
d'Argents, Sept. 14, 1855. 

J Johnson to the Governors of the several colonies. 


of one thousand Provincial troops, under command of 
Colonel Ephraim Williams of Massachusetts,* and two 
hundred Indian warriors led by Hendrick, the Mohawk 
sachem. They started from the camp about nine 
o'clock on the morning wf the 8th of September, expect- 
ing to find the French at or near Fort Edward. When 
Dieskau learned, from his scouts, the approach of 
Williams' party, he extended his line on both sides of 
the road in the form of a half moon, and in this order 
continued slowly and cautiously to advance. Colonel 
Williams, in the meantime, pushed forward with rash 
confidence, and had proceeded about four miles from 
the lake, when he suddenly found himself in the very 
Centre of the half circle. At that moment the French 
opened a fire of musketry in front and on both flanks. 
Thus attacked on all sides by an unseen enemy the 
Provincials offered but a slight resistance. Fora short 
time the slaughter of the English was dreadful. Wil- 
liams fell dead at the head of his regiment, and the 
brave and faithful Hendrick was mortally wounded; 
but the troops were withdrawn with great skill and 
coolness by Lieutenant Col. Whitney, who succeeded 
to the command on the death of Williams. 

Johnson lay at Lake George without entrenchment or 
defence of any kind. Aroused by the noise of the 
firing, he sent Lieutenant-colonel Cole With a rein- 
forcement of two hundred men to the aid of Williams, 
and hastened to form a sort of breastwork with fallen 
trees, drawing up a few pieces of cannon which had 
been left five hundred yards distant from the front. f 
At ten o'clock the defeated troops bsgan to arrive at 
the camp in large bodies, and, at half-past eleven, the 
French appeared in sight, marching in regular order 
against the centre of the breastwork. 

It had been Dieskau's purpose to rush forward and 

* Before joining Johnson, Colonel Williams made a will by which 
he bequeathed his property to the town of Williamstown, Massachu- 
setts, on condition that the money should be used for the establish- 
ment and maintenance of a free school. The school was incorporat- 
ed as a College, in 1773, by the name of Williams College. 

t Review of Military operations in North America. 


to enter the camp with the fugitives ; but the Iroquois 
(Caughnawagas) took possession of a rising ground 
and stood inactive. At this the Abenakis halted also ; 
and the Canadians became intimidated.* A few shots 
from the artillery drove them all to the shelter of the 
neighboring swamps, and left the French commander 
and his handful of veteran troops unsupported. As 
the regulars advanced against the centre they suddenly 
halted for several minutes about one hundred and fifty 
yards from the breastwork, and then again advanced, 
firing by platoons. Finding it impossible to break the 
centre, Dieskau moved to the right and attacked Wil- 
liams, Ruggles and Titcomb's regiments, where a 
warm fire was kept up for nearly an hour. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon the English sud- 
denly leaped over the slight breastwork and charged 
upon the assailants, who precipitately retreated, leav- 
ing almost all the regular troops dead on the field. 
The Canadians and Indians retired in small parties, to 
the scene of Williams' defeat in the morning, where 
they were surprised and defeated by a party of one 
hundred and twenty New Hampshire and ninety New 
York troops, who, under command of Captain Mc- 
Ginnes, had been sent from Fort Edward to reinforce 
the army at Lake George. The loss of the English 
this day was about two hundred and sixteen killed and 
ninety-six wounded ; of the French the loss was much 
greater.* Dieskau was found, after the retreat, lean- 
ing against the stump of a tree, thrice wounded and 
helpless. Early in the action General Johnson received 
a painful wound in the thigh and retired to his tent ; 
the command then devolved on General Lyman. 
Johnson, by this victory, became a Baronet, and re- 

* Bancroft's History of the U. S., Vol. 4. Baron Dieskau had no 
confidence in the Iroquois. After his defeat he writes M. de Vau- 
dreuil, " I prophesied to you, sir, that the Iroquois would play 
some scurvy trick. It is unfortunate for me that I am such a good 
prophet." Paris Doc. 

t Johnson in his official report of this battle estimates the loss of 
the French at from five to six hundred. Warburton states it as a 
" little short of eight hundred." 


ceived a gratuity of five thousand pounds, while Lyman 
is not mentioned in the official bulletin. 

A rapid movement upon Crown Point would have 
forced the French to evacuate that post; but Johnson 
instead of following up his victory by a quick and well 
directed blow, wasted the rest of the season in building 
Fort William Henry; a pile of wooden barracks, sur- 
rounded by an embankment and ditch, which stood on 
an elevated spot about three hundred yards from the 
temporary breastwork attacked by Dieskau. 

While the army remained at the head of Lake 
George,. in inaction, Captain Robert Rodgers and Cap- 
tain Israel Putnam, two daring and active officers 
belonging to the New England troops, made repeated 
demonstrations against the French, cut off many of 
their working parties and obtained correct information 
of all their proceedings. Upon one of these occasions 
Rodgers and his men spent the night in the trench 
under Fort St. Frederic, and at another time, sur- 
prised a Frenchman within gun-shot of its walls.* 

The season of 1756 passed without any military 
movement of importance being made, by either party 
in the vicinity of Lake Champlain. The English com- 
pleted the defences of Fort William Henry, and, at one 
time, contemplated building a fort at the head of South 
Bay ; but this last work was at first delayed and ulti- 
mately abandoned. On the other hand the French 
were busily engaged in fortifying the peninsula of 
Ticonderoga. After the defeat of Dieskau the rem- 
nant of his army sought shelter there, where they es- 
tablished a camp and commenced building a fort, after- 
wards called Fort Carillon. During the season of 1756 
upwards of two thousand French were constantly en- 
gaged upon the work. The lake now presented a most 
lively appearance. Canoes, bateaux, and schooners 
were constantly passing and repassing between Canada, 
Crown Point and Ticonderoga, transporting troops 
from point to point, or loaded with supplies and ammu- 

* Journal of the New Hampshire Scouts. 


Small scouting parties would occasionally leave Fort 
William Henry and penetrate as far as the French 
works, to gather information and beat up the outposts 
of the enemy. Upon one occasion Capt. Robert Rogers 
was sent on a scout with a party of fifty men and five 
whale boats. Rogers drew his boats over the mountain 
into Lake Champlain and, passing Ticonderoga in the 
night, on the morning of the 7th of July, secreted his 
party on the east side of the lake, about twenty-five 
miles north of Crown Point. While lying here, Rod- 
gers counted thirty boats passing towards Canada, and, 
about three o'clock in the morning, discovered a 
schooner of thirty-five or forty tons at anchor a short 
distance below. As he was preparing to attack this 
vessel, two lighters with twelve men on board ap- 
proached the shore, into which his party fired, killing 
three of the Frenchmen and wounding two others. 
The lighters were taken and found loaded with wheat, 
flour, rice, brandy and wine. Destroying all but the 
two last, Rodgers hastened back, his men rowing none 
the less stoutly, when the prisoners informed them that 
a party of five hundred men were only two leagues be- 
low, on their way to Crown Point.* 

Major Rodgers was not always successful. In Jan- 
uary, 1757, with about eighty rangers he intercepted a 
party transporting supplies from Crown Point to Ticon- 
deroga and captured seven men, three loaded sleds and 
six horses. On his return to Lake George he was met 
by a party of French and Indians sent against him from 
Ticonderoga. A desperate and bloody action ensued in 
which the rangers were defeated with a loss of fourteen 
killed, six wounded and six taken prisoners. Major 
Rodgers was twice wounded, and Captain Spikeman, 
Lieutenant Kennedy and Ensign Page of the Rangers 
killed. The survivors were rescued, through the brave- 
ry and firmness of Lieutenant Stark, who conducted 
the retreat to Lake George. Two hundred and fifty 
French and Indians were in the action, of whom, ac- 
* Rodgers' Journal. 


cording to Rodgers' estimate, one-third were killed or 

The campaign of 1757 opened early and briskly on 
the northern frontier. While the strong ice yet cov- 
ered the surface of the lake .and the snow lay in heavy 
drifts along its shores, eleven hundred French and four 
hundred Canada Indians, under Vciudreuil and the 
Chevalier Longueuil, inarched from Ticonderoga to 
surprise the garrison of Fort William Henry. During 
the night of the 16th of March the party lay upon the 
snow behind Long Point, and, early the next morning, 
appeared suddenly before the fort, expecting to carry 
it by surprise ; but Stark the same who, twenty years 
later, was ready to make his Molly a widow for the 
cause of liberty was there with his rangers, and the 
assailants were forced back, not however until they 
had burned several sloops, a large number of bateaux, 
and some store houses which stood beyond reach of the 
guns of the fort. 

Soon after the return of the French, Colonel Parker 
was sent from Fort William Henry, with a command 
of four hundred men, to attempt the works at Ticon- 
deroga. The detachment crossed the lake in whale- 
boats and bateaux, but before reaching Ticonderoga, 
were decoyed in an ambuscade, and the whole party, 
with the exception of two officers and seventy men, 
either killed or taken prisoners. 

The French still urged forward the defenses of Fort 
Carillon. Montcalm, brave, sagacious and active, was 
at Montreal preparing to carry out his favorite project 
of reducing Fort William Henry. Everything favored 
the enterprise. The Indians, including many stern 
warriors of the Six Nations, gathered around the little 
fort of St. Johns on the Richelieu, and there danced 
their war dances beneath the white banner of France. 

Six days afterwards they landed, from two hundred 
canoes, upon the rock-bound shores of Ticonderoga, 
where they were met by Marin, returning from a foray 
near Fort Edward; his canoes decorated with the 
bleeding scalps of forty-two Englishmen. Six thousand 


French and Canadians, and seventeen hundred Indians 
were now collected at Ticonderoga, armed to the teeth, 
and anxious to be led against the enemy. On the last 
day of July M. de Levy was sent forward by land, 
under guidance of the Indians, with twenty-five hun- 
dred men, and Montcnlm followed the next day, with 
the main body of the army, in two hundred and fifty 

General Webb, a man of weak, irresolute and timid 
character, was in command of the Provincial troops, 
and had five thousand men with him at Fort Edward, 
while a body of one thousand men garrisoned Fort 
William Henry. It so happened that Webb started for 
Lake George, with an escort of two hundred men, un- 
der command of Major Putnam, at the very time Mont- 
calm was embarking his army at the lower end of the 
lake. On his arrival at the fort, Putnam was sent to 
reconnoitre as far as Ticonderoga, and had proceeded 
part of the way, when he discovered the boats of the 
French moving slowly up the lake. Returning to the 
fort, Putnam informed Webb of the approach and 
strength of the enemy, and urged that the whole army 
should be brought forward immediately to repel their 
attack ; but to this Webb would not consent. Enjoin- 
ing secrecy upon Putnam he returned, with dastard 
haste, to Fort Edward, from whence he sent Colonel 
Monro, with one thousand men, to reinforce and take 
command of the garrison at the lake. 

Montcalm landed about the time of Colonel Monro's 
arrival, and immediately laid seige to the fort, at the 
same time sending proposals for its surrender. " I 
will defend my trust to the last," was the spirited 
reply of the brave Monro. The seige lasted six days, 
in the course of which the French General pushed his 
advances within musket shot of the fort, while a body 
of over five thousand regulars, Canadians and Indians, 
under De Levy and De la Corne held the road leading to 
Fort Edward in rear of the English works. Then it 
was that Monro, finding his provisions and ammunition 
nearly exhausted, and having received a letter from his 


pusillanimous chief declining to send him further assist- 
ance, consented to surrender. By the terms of capitula- 
tion the English were to march out with their arms 
and baggage, and were to be escorted by a detachment 
of French troops as far as Fort Ed ward ; the sick and 
wounded remaining under Montcalm's protection until 
their recovery, when they were to be allowed to return 
to their homes. 

At the time of the capitulation four hundred and fifty- 
nine English occupied the fort, while seventeen hundred 
and fifty were posted in a fortified camp standing on 
an eminence to the east, now marked by the ruins of 
Fort George. The troops inarched out of the works on 
the morning of the 10th of August, and had scarcely 
passed the gates, when they were attacked by a large 
pirty of Indians attached to the French army.* These 
savages rushed on with the fury of demons. Men. 
women and children were murdered in cold blood, and 
in the most barbarous manner. The massacre contin- 
ued until the English had proceeded half way to Fort 
Edward, when the scattered and terrified troops were 
met by an escort of five hundred men, sent out for 
their protection. The French officers endeavored in 
vain to arrest the terrible onslaught. " Kill me," 
cried Montcalm, baring his breast, "but spare the 
English who are under my protection." The appeal 
was in vain. The vindictive savages had tasted blood 
and neither prayers, nor menaces nor promises availed 
while a victim was to be found, f 

Immediately after the victory the fort was levelled to 
the ground ; the cannon and stores were removed to 
Ticonderoga and the boats and vessels taken to the 
lower end of the lake. Thus closed the military opera- 
tions of the year. The French returned to resume their 
labor upon the walls of Carillon, Webb shrunk back to 

* Montcalm, in a letter to Lord Lpudon, of 14 Aug., 1757, says lie 
had " three thousand Indians of thirty-three different nations" in 
his army on Lake George. 

t Bancroft's History of U. S., Vol. 4; Conquest of Canada, Vol. 
2 ; Williams' Vermont* Vol. 2. 


A. Dock. 

B. Garrison Gardens. 
C. Fort William Henry. 
D. Morass. 

E. Montcalm's ist Batter y. 
F. Montcalm's 2d Battery. 
G. Montcalm's Approaches. 
H. Two Intended Batteries. 
I. Place where Montcalm landed 
his Artillery. 

K. Montcalm's Camp. 

L M. DeLevy's Camp. 

M. M. De La Corne with Canadi- 
ans and Indians. 

N. English Encampment before 
the retrenchments was made. 

O. Bridge over the Morass. 

P. English retrenchment. 


Albany and the timid deer again drank, undisturbed, of 
the cool waters of the silver Horicon. 

The British Government decided to press the cam- 
paign of the succeeding year (1758) with uncommon 
vigor. Twelve thousand troops were to attempt the 
reduction of Louisburg on the island of Cape Breton, 
sixteen thousand were to march against Ticonderoga 
and Crown Point, and eight thousand were to attack 
Fort Duquesne. The command of the troops destined 
for Lake Chainplain was entrusted to Major-general 
Abercrombie, who had succeeded the imbecile Loudon 
to the chief command in America. 

On the first of July, six thousand three hundred and 
sixty-seven Regulars and nine thousand and twenty- 
four Provincials were collected around the decaying 
ruins of Fort William Henry. Four days later the 
whole armament struck their tents, and in nine hun- 
dred bateaux and one hundred and thirty-five whale-boats 
embarked on the waters of Lake George ; a large num- 
ber of rafts, armed with artillery and loaded with pro- 
visions, accompanied the expedition. That night, the 
proud host rested for five hours on Sabbath-day Point, 
and, early on the morning of the 6lh, reached the land- 
ing at the lower end of the lake. 

Fort Carillon, against which the English were now 
advancing, stood near the point of the peninsula formed 
by the junction of the outlet of Lake George with Lake 
Champlain. This peninsula contains about five hundred 
acres, and is surrounded on three sides by water. One 
half of the western or land sides was then covered by a 
swamp. The fort was nearly one hundred feet above 
the water, and stood on the south side of the peninsula 
adjoining the outlet, which here expands into a bay of 
some size. On the extreme easternmost point of the 
peninsula, at a short distance from the main work, was 
a strong redoubt of earth andstones, which commanded 
the narrow part of the lake. A battery also stood on 
the bank of the b;iy, a short distance west of the fort, 
while the low land to the north was covered by two 
batteries, standing behind its walls. The road from 


Lake George to Ticonderoga crossed the river or outlet, 
twice, by bridges. Near the lower bridge, and less than 
two miles from the fort, the French had built saw-mills, 
which were defended by a slight military work. They 
had also built a log camp near the landing at the foot 
of Lake George. 

To oppose the powerful army now advancing against 
them, the French had only twenty-eight hundred 
Regulars and four hundred and fifty Canadians. The 
apparent hopelessness of resistance excited Montcalm 
to action. With consummate judgment he marked out 
his lines, half a mile west of the fort, and pushed the 
work with such ardor that, in ten hours, a wall as many 
feet high had been thrown up across the high ground 
which lay between the swamp and the bank of the out- 
let. On the 1st of July three regiments, under M. de 
Bourlemaque, occupied the log camp at the foot of the 
lake, while the battalion of La Barre was posted near 
the mills. When the English first appeared in sight, 
Bourlemaque fell back upon the mills, leaving Captain 
de Trepeze, with three hundred men, to watch the ap- 
proaching column. 

Immediately on landing, Abercrombie, leaving his 
baggage, provisions and artillery in the boats, formed 
his men into three columns and advanced towards Ti- 
conderoga. The route lay through a thick and tangled 
wood which prevented any regular progress, and the 
troops, misled by the bewildered guides, were soon 
thrown into confusion. While thus pressing forward 
in disorder, the head of the advance column under 
Lord Howe, fell in with a party of the French troops, 
who had lost their way likewise, and a warm skirmish 
ensued. At the first fire the gallant Howe fell and in- 
stantly expired. He was the idol of the army and had 
endeared himself to the men by his affability and virtues. 
Infuriated by the loss of their beloved leader, his men 
rushed forward and swept the French from the field. 
Abercrombie's bugles now sounded the retreat, and 
the fatigued soldiers returned to the landing-place, 
where they encamped for the night. 


JulyS, 1758. 


Early on the morning of the 7th, Lieutenant-colonel 
Bradstreet moved forward with a strong party and took 
possession of the saw-mills, while Abercrotnbie again 
formed his men in order of battle, and prepared to ad- 
vance against the French works. But the attack was 
not made until the morning of the 8th, when the whole 
army was brought up, except a small detachment left 
to guard the boats, and a Provincial regiment stationed 
at the saw-mills. Montcalm had that morning received 
a reinforcement of four hundred men, under M. de Levy, 
which increased his force to about thirty-six hundred. 
Behind the newly erected lines, which were now 
strengthened by a wide and difficult abattis, he posted 
the tried battalions of La Heine, La Sarre, Beam, 
Guiene, Berry, Languedoc and Roussillon, and calmly 
awaited the onset. 

As the English approached, the rangers, light infan- 
try, bateau men and Ruggles', Doley's, Partridge's. 
Williams' and Baglay's regiments of Provincials, with 
a battalion of the New York regiment, took post in front, 
out of cannon-shot of the French works, Next came 
the regulars destined for the attack, while the Connecti- 
cut and New Jersey troops were drawn up in the rear. At 
one o'clock the English bugles sounded to attack, when 
the regular battalions moved forward with quick and 
steady step the veteran fifty-fifth leading, closely fol- 
lowed by the gallant Colonel Graham, at the head of 
Murray's Highlanders. As the columns approached, 
and when the ranks became entangled among the logs 
and fallen trees which protected the breastwork, Mont- 
calm opened a galling fire of artillery and musketry, 
which mowed down the brave officers and men by hun- 
dreds. For four hours the English vainly strove to cut 
their way through the impenetrable abattis, until Aber- 
crombie, despairing of success, and having already lost 
nineteen hundred and forty-four men in killed and 
wounded, ordered a retreat. Montcalm did not pur- 
sue, for the English still outnumbered him fourfold. 
Having refreshed his exhausted soldiers, he employed 
the night in strengthening his lines a useless labor, for 


the frightened Abercrombie did not stop until he reached 
the head of Lake George and, even then, he sent his 
artillery and ammunition to Albany for safety.* 

Soon after the retreat of the English, Majors Putnam 
and Rogers were sent, with their rangers, towards the 
head of Lake Champlaio, to watch the movements of a 
party of five hundred Canadians and Indians, who, it 
was understood, intended to pass up the lake from Ti- 
conderoga, under command of the famous Marin. 
Rodgers, with the main body, took a position near Wood 
Creek, about twelve miles from its mouth, while Put- 
nam, with thirty-five men, took post on the bold rocky 
shore of the lake about half a mile north of the Creek. 
Near the edge of these rocks he constructed a wall of 
stones, and placed young trees before it in such a man- 
ner as completely to hide the defense from the water 
below. Learning four days afterwards, that the ene- 
my were approaching, under cover of the night, Putnam 
called in his sentinels and stationed his men where their 
fire would prove most effective ; ordering them to re- 
main perfectly quiet until they received his orders. 
The canoes advanced in solemn silence, and had passed 
the wall of stone, when they became alarmed by a 
slight noise, caused by one of Putnam's men carelessly 
striking his gun against a stone. Crowding together 
beneath the rocks, a brief consultation was held by the 
party, when the canoes were turned back towards Ti- 
conderoga. As they turned, Putnam gave the order 
to fire. This fire was returned from the lake, and for 
a short time the contest was warmly kept up on both 
sides. Great was the carnage among the canoes, which 
lay exposed upon the smooth surface of the water. Ma- 

* Abercrombie' s Dispatch Conquest of Canada. Bancroft's His- 
tory of the United States. Williams, Vermont, etc. 

The loss of the English on that day was 551 killed, 1356 wounded 
and 37 missing. Montcalm reported his loss at 110 killed and 248 

In the centre of the French lines a lofty cross was erected, in cele- 
bration of the victory, on which was affixed a plate of brass with this 

'Pone principes, eorum sicut Oreb, et Zebec et Zalmanna' 
Warburton, Vol. II. 


pin at length withdrew and landed his men a short dis- 
tance below, intending to surround the rangers ; but Put- 
nam was upon the alert and immediately withdrew to- 
wards Fort Edward. While retreating through the thick 
forest an unexpected enemy fired upon the party, and 
wounded one man. Putnam instantly ordered his men to 
charge, when his voice was recognized by the leader of 
the other party, who cried out, "Hold, we are friends." 
"Friends or foes," answered Putnam, "you deserve to 
perish for doing so little execution with so fair a shot." 
The party proved to be a detachment sent to cover his 

A few days afterwards, Putnam was taken prisoner 
by some of the Indians attached to Marin's command. 
The Indians bound Putnam to a tree. A young savage 
then amused himself by seeing how near he could throw 
a tomahawk to his prisoner's head, without touching it 
the weapon struck in the tree a number of times, at 
a hair's breadth from the mark. When the Indian had 
finished this novel, but, to one of the parties, not very 
agreeable sport, a Canadian came up, snapped his fusee 
at Putnam's breast, then violently and repeatedly 
pushed the muzzle against his ribs, and finally gave 
him a severe blow on the jaw with the butt-end of the 
gun. Putnam was then stripped of his clothes and 
taken to the place selected for their night encampment, 
where the Indians determined to roast him alive. For 
this purpose they bound him to a tree, piled dried 
bushes in a circle around him, and then set fire to the 
pile. At the moment when Putnam began to feel the 
scorching heat, and had resigned himself to the keen 
agonies of certain death, Marin rushed through the 
crowd, opened a way, by scattering the burning brands, 
and unbound the victim.* 

This humane officer, having reprimanded the savages 
in severe terms, took Putnam under his own protection 
and delivered him to Montcalm, by whom he was sent 
to Montreal. Thus, through hardships, privations and 
blood, were the sturdy Provincials schooled for the 
great and heroic deeds of the American Revolution. 
* Thacher's Military Journal. 



General Amherst marches against Tioonderoga and Crown Point- 
Retreat of the French to Canada Naval operations on Lake Cham- 
plain Progress of the settlement of the country bordering on Lake 
Champlain, prior to the revolution New Hampshire Grants 
Dispute with tenants of Colonel Reed A new Province projected 
by Colonel Skene and others. 

NOTWITHSTANDING the great importance attached 
by the Provincial and Home Governments to the con- 
trol of Lake Champlain the key of Canada three 
campaigns, under three different Generals, had been 
undertaken without any progress towards the attain- 
ment of that object. Johnson was inefficient, Webb 
pusillanimous, and Abercrombie wanting in military 
skill and firmness. The first halted his .army to build 
a fort when he should have captured one ; the second, 
with four thousand men under his immediate command, 
abandoned the brave Monro to the tomahawk of the 
merciless savage ; while Abercrombie, though far super- 
ior to both, by a false move and " the extremest fright 
and consternation," allowed less than four thousand 
men to repel the advance of fifteen thousand troops, 
truly said to have been " the largest and best appor- 
tioned army in America." Success, however, had at- 
tended the British arms in other quarters. Louisburg 
capitulated to General Amherst in July, and in Novem- 
ber General Forbes was in possession of Fort Du- 

Pitt, the then English Secretary of State, had long 
desired the conquest of Canada, and was determined to 
leave no efforts untried to accomplish that object. 
Fully appreciating the skill, bravery and activity of 
Amherst, he appointed him to the chief command in 
America. Amherst entered upon his work with zeal. 
Wolfe was placed in command of one expedition des- 


tined to the attack of Quebec ; Prideaux was sent with 
another against Niagara, while the Commander-in-Chief 
led a third in person, against the French posts on Lake 

Montcalm was indefatigable in his preparations for 
the approaching struggle. Three armed vessels were 
built to command the navigation of Lake Champlain, 
and the strong walls of Carillon again echoed with the 
noise of workmen. Still the French General, sorely 
pressed on every side, feared for the safety of that post. 
He could spare but few troops for its defence, and 
besides he well knew that its batteries were commanded 
by the controlling summit of Mount Defiance. " Had 
I to besiege Fort Carillon," said he the year before, 
while wondering at the retreat of Abercrombie, "I 
would ask but six mortars and two pieces of artillery."* 
Bourlemaque was sent forward to^ protect the fort with 
three batalions of Regulars and a body of Canadians 
and Indians, but he received instructions, at the same 
time, if necessary, to blow up the works on the approach 
of the English, to retire to Isle Aux Noix and there 
make a strong resistance. 

On the 21st of June, Amherst reached the head of 
Lake George with an army of six thousand men, where 
he remained for a month, waiting for the remainder of 
the troops to come up. On the 21st he embarked with 
fifty-seven hundred and forty-three Regulars and five 
thousand two hundred and seventy-nine Provincials, 
and crossing the lake in four columns landed, the next 
day, near the spot where Abercrombie had disembarked 
the year before. That night his army lay under arms 
at the saw-mills, while the French held their old lines 
in force. On the night of the 23d, De Bourlemaque 
withdrew his men and leaving a party of four hundred 
in Fort Carillon, to mask his retreat, embarked with the 

* Bancroft's History of U. S. See, however, Paris Doc. in Vol. X 
Col. His. of N. Y. Where M. de Pout le Roy, chief engineer under 
Montcalm, closes his memoir with these words. " From tliis descrip- 
tion it will be seen how little susceptible of defence is this fort. * * 
Were I intrustedwith the seige I should require only six mortars, and 
two cannon." 


main body for Crown Point. The English Grenadiers 
immediately occupied the deserted intrenchments. 

During the 24th and 25th, the French kept up a 
continuous fire upon the English camp, which was 
warmly returned. In the meantime, Amherst advanced 
his approaches within six hundred yards of the fort, 
and was prepared to assault the works, but the French, 
having now held their opponents at bay long enough 
to secure the retreat of De Bourlemaque, prepared to 
blow up and abandon them. Several mines were con- 
structed under the walls and a fuse connected with the 
powder magazine. At ten o'clock, on the night of the 
26th, they sprung the mine and hastilj r retreated to 
their boats.* The explosion scattered the flames in 
every direction breastworks, barracks and store- 
houses were consumed, while the report of the bursting 
guns, following each other in quick succession, an- 
nounced to the retreating French the progress of the 
work of destruction. 

Amherst immediately commenced repairing the fort, 
the stone work of which remained mostly uninjured. 
He also sent forward Major Rodgers, with two hundred 
rangers, to examine the position of the French at 
Crown Point, and to seize, and, at all hazards, hold 
some strong post near the fort. But this haste was 
useless, for before the Rangers could reach their post, 
the French had destroyed the fort, burned the sur- 
rounding settlements and retreated to Isle Aux Noix. 
The glory of St. Frederic was gone. 

On the 4th of August, Amherst reached Crown 
Point with the main army and immediately traced out 
the lines of a new fort, about two hundred yards west 
of the old French works. This fort, although never 
completed, is said to have cost the English Govern- 
ment over two millions of pounds sterling. The ram- 
parts were about twenty-five feet thick and nearly the 
same in height and were built of solid masonry. The 
curtains varied in length from fifty-two to one hundred 
yards, and the whole circuit, measuring around the 
* Conquest of Canada, Vol. II. 



A. Stone Battery. 
B. The Fort. 
C Earth Battery. 
D. Wharf. 

G. Battery. 

H. Stone Houses for Prisoners. 

I. Lime Kilns. 

K. Nine Ovens. 

E Stone Houses for Naval L. Gardens. 

Stores. M. Batteries in the Lines. 

F. Redoubt. N. French Lines. 


ramparts and including the bastions, was eight hun- 
dred and fifty-three yards. A broad ditch surrounded 
the work. On the north was a gate, and from the 
north-east bastion a covered way leading to the water. 

While engaged upon this work, Amherst directed 
Captain Loring, who superintended the naval opera- 
tions on the lake, to build with the greatest dispatch, a 
sloop of sixteen guns, a radeau or raft eighty-four feet 
long, capable of carrying six large cannon, and a 
brigantine. These were completed by the llth of 
October, when the English commander embarked his 
whole army in bateaux and started for Canada. Towards 
the evening of the next day the wind commenced blow- 
ing a gale, and the general was obliged to anchor his 
bateaux under the west shore of the lake. Captain 
Loring, however, kept at sea with his armed vessels, 
and at daylight in the morning, discovered the French 
about forty-five miles down the lake. He immediately 
gave chase and drove a schooner and three sloops under 
shelter of Valcour Island. The sloops were sunk, and 
the schooner run aground. The crew escaped into the 

Amherst, after remaining wind-bound for several 
days, again started for Canada, but he had scarcely 
reached Valcour Island, when the autumn winds 
threatened to swamp his vessels. Satisfied that he 
could accomplish nothing at that late and inclement 
season of the year, he now abandoned the enterprise 
and returned to winter quarters at Crown Point, where 
he arrived on the 21st of October. 

While Amherst was at Crown Point he opened a 
road from that place to " No. 4 " on the Connecticut 
river, and also planned an expedition against the St. 

* See Brasrier's Map of Lake Charaplain, where the north end of 
Valcour Island is designated as the place where " the French 
sunk their vessels in 1759." The schooner carried ten four pounders 
and the three smaller craf Is carried each eight guns of small calibre 
and a crew of fifty men. M. Bourlemaque says the schooner was 
run aground and the three smaller vessels were sunk at nightfall. 
[Dispatch to Marshal de Belle Isle] Lieut. Hadden, in a map 
made in 1776, designates the place in the little bay opposite Crab 


Francis Indians, who lived on the east side of the St. 
Lawrence, near Three Rivers. The command of this 
expedition was entrusted to Major Rodger* of the Ne\v 
Hampshire troops, who, in October, left Crown Point 
in bateaux, with two hundred men. This number was 
afterwards, by an accident, reduced to one hundred 
and forty-two, with whom Rodgers proceeded to 
Missisco Bay, where he concealed his boats and a por- 
tion of his provisions and started by land for the 
Indian village. The expedition was successful. After 
reducing the village to ashes, Rodgers and his men 
returned to Crown Point by the way of the Connecti- 
cut River. In May, 1760, General Amherst ordered 
Major Rodgers to proceed down the lake with 275 
Rangers and twenty-five light infantry, and attempt 
the surprise of the French forts at St. Johns and 
Chambly. On the 4th June, Rodgers landed witli 
200 men on the west shore of the lake, twelve miles 
south of Isle Aux Noix (Rouse's Point), the rest of his 
party remaining on board the sloops, which, under 
command of Capt. Grant, had been sent back to Isle 
La Motte. Rodgers was attacked on the 6th, while en- 
camped near the place of landing, by 350 French 
troops sent from the fort at Isle Anx Noix, under com- 
mand of M. La Force, and, after a short but severe en- 
gagement, defeated the French, who returned to Isle 
Aux Noix. In this engagement Ensign Wood of the 
17th regiment and sixteen Rangers were killed and 
Capt. Johnson and ten men were wounded. Capt. 
Johnson died a few days after the battle. On the part 
of the French forty were killed and several wounded, 
including M. La Force. 

After the action Rodgers retired to Isle La Motte, 
where he remained until the 9th, when he landed at 
the mouth of the Great Chazy river, and passing 
around Isle Aux Noix attacked and destroyed a small 
stockade fort below St. Johns and returned to the lake 
with twenty-five prisoners, reaching Crown Point on 
the 23d day of June.* 

* Rodger's Journal. 


In August 1760, Colonel Haviland left Crown Point 
at the head of fifteen hundred regular troops, eighteen 
hundred Provincials and some Indians, and on the 
16th of that month, encamped opposite the French 
post at Isle Aux Noix, and by the 24th, opened a fire 
of mortars upon it. Three days after, M. De Bougain. 
ville, the Commandant, withdrew from the island leav- 
ing a garrison of only thirty men, who immediately 
surrendered.* On the 8th of September, Colonel 
Haviland joined Amherst and Murray, under the walls 
of Montreal. That same day the city was surrendered 
by Vaudreuil. By this act the French dominion in 
Canada ceased, and by the treaty of peace signed in 
Paris on the 10th day of February, 1763, that Province 
was formally ceded to Great Britain. This, says Mr. 
Smollet,f " was a conquest the most important of any 
that ever the British army achieved, whether we con- 
sider the safety of the British Colonies in America, 
now secured from invasion and encroachment ; the ex- 
tent and fertility of the country subdued; or the whole 
Indian commerce thus transferred to Great Britain." 

When the French army retreated to Canada, it was 
accompanied by the few inhabitants residing upon the 
borders of the lake. There was, however, at this time, 
a settlement of French and Indians at S wanton Falls in 
Vermont, several miles east of the lake, containing a 
small church, a saw-mill and about fifty huts, winch 
was not abandoned by them until the year 17754 

In the course of the year 1760, the New England 
troops frequently passed over the road opened by Am- 
herst from the lake to the Connecticut, and thus be- 
came acquainted with the fertility and value of the 
lands in that section. These lands were soon sought 
out and settled upon. 

The lands north of Crown Point, although equally 
fertile, were more remote and did not as early attract 
the attention of the pioneer or speculator. They, how- 

* Conquest of C.anada. Williams' History of Vermont, 
t History of England. 

* Thompson's Gazetteer. 


ever, came into notice gradually, so that several perma- 
nent settlements were made along the borders of the 
lake, during the fifteen years which intervened between 
the expulsion of the French and the commencement of 
the revolutionary war. 

In 1766, Colonel Ephraim Doolittle, Paul Moore, 
Marshall Newton and others settled in the town of 
Shoreham, and, in the same year, Donald Mclntosh, a 
native of Scotland, moved into the town of Verge nnes. 
A saw-mill was erected at the lower falls of Otter 
Creek as early as 1769, and shortly afterwards a grist- 
mill was built at the same place. 

Some years before the commencement of the revolu- 
tionary war, two Germans by the name of Logan and 
Pettier settled upon the points of land, in the town of 
Shelburne, known as Pottier's Point and Logan's Point. 
They were engaged in getting out timber for the Cana- 
dian market, and are said to have been murdered near 
the north end of the lake, by a party of soldiers sent 
out from Montreal to escort them home, on their return 
with the avails of a raft which they had sold. Soon 
after their death, about ten families settled in the town, 
among whom were Thomas and Moses Pierson. 

John Strong, Zadock Everest and a Mr. Ward com- 
menced a settlement in the town of Addison, on the 
opposite side of the lake from Crown Point, in 1769 or 
1770. A settlement was also commenced in 1770, in 
the town of Panton, by John Pangborn and Odle 
Squires, who were afterwards joined by Timothy 
Spaulding, Peter Ferris and others. Ferris resided at 
the bay in which Arnold burned his vessels during the 
revolutionary war. 

The town of Bridport was first settled, in 1768, by 
Philip Stone, of Groton, Massachusetts. About the 
same time, two families by the name of Richardson and 
Smith moved into the township and commenced a 
settlement, under New York titles, and were followed 
by Towner, Chipman and Plumer, who held grants 
from the Governor of New Hampshire. In 1773, Sam- 
uel Smith moved his family into the town and was 


followed during the following winter by Mr. Victory. 
A settlement was commenced at the lower falls on the 
Winooski River by Ira Allen and Remember Baker, in 

These settlements were all on the eastern border of 
the lake. A few improvements had also been com- 
menced on the New York side, which were principally 
confined to the grants made, by the colony of New 
York, to the officers and soldiers who had served in the 
wars against the French and Indians. The most im- 
portant of these, lying north of Crown Point, was at 
the Bouquet River where William Gilliland had erected 
a saw-mill, and where several persons, including Gilli- 
land, Watson, Scarr, Cross, Blood and McCawley 

William Hay and Henry Cross, lived on a tract of 
land granted, in 1765, to Lieutenant Friswell. Hay's 
house stood near the shore of the lake opposite Val- 
cour Island. From this house his family watched the 
progress of the naval engagement between the Ameri- 
can and British fleet, llth Oct. 1776, and witnessed 
Arnold's masterly retreat during the following night. 
Before the Revolution, the few inhabitants residing on 
the north end of the lake received their supplies from 
Montreal, which they were in the habit of visiting sev- 
eral times in the course of the summer months. About 
the 1st of June, 1775, Mr. Hay went to Montreal to 
purchase a supply of flour, and was there arrested and 
thrown into prison by order of General Carleton. He 
remained in prison several days, but was at length 
liberated at the solicitation of the merchants of that 
city. Mr. Hay, on his return, repaired to Crown Point 
and gave information to the American commander as 
to the strength and plans of the Indians, which was 
considered of great importance at the time. He also 
brought the first news of Carle ton's efforts to enlist the 
Caughnawagas on the side of the English. For some 

* For further information in relation to the first settlement of the 
towns on the eastern border of the lake, see Thompson's Gazetteer 
of Vermont. 


reason lie was afterwards suspected of holding com- 
munication with the English. In July, 1776, while 
his wife and children lay sick of the small pox, Hay 
was arrested and sent to Crown Point, by order of Gen- 
eral Sullivan ; Cross accompanied him. " These men 
are suspected of being inimical to us and have it in 
their power to give intelligence to the enemy," was the 
reason assigned for their arrest. 

As early as 1763, one John La Frambois, a native of 
Canada, accompanied by two men named Goude and 
Swarte, visited the shores of the lake and remained a 
short time in the present town of Chazy, Clinton 
County. La Frombois returned to Canada in 1768, 
and obtained permission from Francis McKay to settle 
on a tract which McKay pretended to claim by virtue 
of an assignment of the old French grant to La Gauche- 
tiere.* Under this license La Frombois took possession 
of what are now lots numbers seventy and seventy- 
two, in Dean's Patent, and built a house on number 
seventy-two, where he remained until 1776, when he 
was driven off by the English and his house burned. 
He returned in 1784, after the war, rebuilt his house 
and remained in possession of the lot until his death in 
1810. Joseph la Monte (now Monty) moved on to a 
lot near La Frombois', in 1774, which he abandoned two 
years afterwards, and reclaimed after the war. His 
descendants still reside upon the same land. 

After La Frombois's first visit, but before his actual 
location in 1768, Charles de Fredenburgh, a needy 
German nobleman, who, in 1766, had received from 
the English Government a warrant for thirty thousand 
acres of land, lying on the river Saranac, moved on to 
the tract and built a house and saw-mill there. De 
Fredenburgh remained on this tract until about the 
time of the commencement of the Revolution, when he 
removed his family to Montreal. He soon after re- 

*See Chap. 3. Gauchetiere assigned to, in 1746, who sold 
toDe Pontbriant, Bishop of Quebec, in December, 17">7. Pontbriant 
afterwards conveyed to De Montgolfier, Superior of the Seminary of 
St. Sulpice, who, in 1768, released to McKay, as one of the heirs at 
aw of the Bishop, De Pontbriant. 


turned to protect his property, and had been back but 
a short time, when the house and mill were burned 
down. Fredenburgh disappeared at the same time and 
was supposed to have been murdered. The saw-mill 
stood on a fall of the Saranac, two miles above its 

In 1761, Philip K. Skene, an English Major under 
half pay, who had been with Amherst in 1759, estab- 
lished a large colony near the mouth of Wood Creek. 
In the autumn, Skene accompanied an expedition 
against Havana, and on his return, in 1763, found the 
settlement reduced to fifteen persons. He immediately 
set about re-establishing the colony, and, in 1765, 
obtained patents for twenty-five thousand acres of land 
lying on and near the creek. Here he built a stone 
mansion forty feet by thirty, and two stories and a half 
in height. In 1770, he built a large stone building 
one hundred and thirty feet long, which was used for 
a military garrison and depot. He also built at this 
place a stone forge of about the same dimensions as 
his house, where he commenced the manufacture of 
iron. This was the first forge erected on the borders 
of the lake. Skene owned a sloop, with which he kept 
up a constant communication with Canada, and, at his 
own expense, cut a road through the wilderness as far 
as Salem, a distance of about thirty miles, from which 
point it was continued by others to Bennington. This 
road was used during the season r when the navigation 
on the lake was closed by ice. In 1773, Skenesborough 
contained a population of 379.* 

The causes which had formerly prevented the occu- 
pancy of the fertile lands of the Champlain valley 
were removed when the whole country came into the 
possession of the English Government, by the Conquest 
of Canada in 1760. But other difficulties almost 

* See a petition to Governor Tryon, praying that Skenesborough 
might be made the Shiretown of Charlotte County. The petition is 
signed by thirty-eight " inhabitants of Crown Point district and 
Ticonderoga." These thirty-eight probably included all the settlers 
in the vicinity of those posts, on both sides of the lake.-^Documeutary 
History of New York, Vol. 4. 


immediately sprang up to retard the growth of this 
section, originating in the conflicting claims of the 
English colonists to the sovereignty of that portion of 
the valley lying east of the lake. The colony of New 
York claimed jurisdiction as far east as the Connecticut 
River, while New Hampshire asserted her right as far 
west as the shores of the lake, and south of the lake, to a 
line running parallel to and twenty miles east of the 
Hudson River. Both colonies frequently issued grants 
for the same territory ; causing much confusion in the 
land titles and creating great animosity between the 
rival claimants. 

Prior to the close of the year 1763, the Governor of 
New Hampshire had granted charters to different per- 
sons for fourteen towns lying along and adjoining the 
east shore of the lake, and, by similar grants, had 
asserted the right of that colony to the whole territory 
claimed to be within her jurisdiction. On the other 
side, the colony of New York issued grants of land on 
the lake to eighty-one or more reduced officers, who 
had served in the French and Indian wars ; nearly one- 
half of which were located on the east side of the lake. 
The colony had also appropriated a large tract, lying 
between Otter Creek and Mallet's Bay, for the dis- 
banded soldiers of those wars. A county had also been 
organized by New York, called Charlotte County, 
which extended, on the north, from Lake Memphre- 
magog to the St. Regis River, and stretched south, on 
both sides of the lake, far beyond its southern ex- 
tremity ; the county seat was fixed at Skenesborough'. 

The efforts of New York to extend its jurisdiction to 
the east was met, from the first, by a most decided op- 
position on the part of the people. Conventions were 
called to devise means to protect the New Hampshire 
claimants in their rights, committees of safety were 
organized and the law officers and land surveyors of 
New York were driven by force from the disputed ter- 
ritory. These disputes were generally confined to the 
southern part of Vermont. Occasionally, however, 
they extended as far north as the grants upon the lakes. 


In 1761, the Governor of New Hampshire granted a 
tract of land, lying around the lower falls of Otter 
Creek, (Vergennes,) to several persons, who moved 
there and, as early as 1769, had erected a saw-mill at 
the falls. Soon after the erection of the mill, Lieu- 
tenant-colonel John Reed, who had formerly com- 
manded the Forty-second Royal Highland Regiment, 
and who held a claim to the same land under the col- 
ony of New York, forcibly drove off the New Hamp- 
shire settlers and put about fifteen families, his own 
tenants, in possession. These last extended the settle- 
ments and had erected several log houses and a grist- 
mill, when they were in turn ordered off by a party of 
" Green Mountain Boys," who burned the houses, de- 
stroyed the grist-mill and put the New Hampshire 
claimants again in possession. 

In June, 1773, Colonel Reed persuaded a number of 
Scotch emigrants who had lately arrived at New York, 
including John Cameron, James Henderson, Donald 
Mclntosh, John Bardans and Angus McBean, to ac- 
company him to Otter Creek for the purpose of retak- 
ing possession of these lands. On their arrival they 
found Joshua Hyde and several other persons in pos- 
session, with whom Reed entered into an arrangement 
by which Hyde and his associates were to give up quiet 
possession of the lands and to allow Reed's tenants to re- 
tain the same, until the dispute as to title should be 
decided' by the English Government. Colonel Reed 
paid 61, 16s, for the crops and improvements, repair- 
ed the grist-mill and also purchased a quantity of pro- 
visions and some cows for the use of his tenants. He 
then left them and returned to New York. 

This arrangement, although made with the consent 
of the New Hampshire claimants, was disapproved by 
the committee of safety, who sent Ethan Allen, Seth 
Warner and Remember Baker, with a party of about 
one hundred " Green Mountain Boys " to Otter Creek 
for the purpose of driving off the Scotch occupants. 
On the llth of August, Allen's party, attended by 
Hyde the same person who two months before had 


sold his claim to Colonel Reed arrived at the settle- 
ments, drove the Scotch from their dwellings, burned 
the hay and corn and five houses, and then tore down 
the grist-mill, breaking the mill-stones in pieces and 
throwing them over the bank into the Creek. Cam- 
eron and his companions remained at Otter Creek 
about two weeks longer and then returned to New 
York. After their departure a small block-house was 
erected at the falls, which was garrisoned and after- 
wards used as a protection to the New Hampshire 
claimants. Another block-house was soon after built 
near the falls of Winooski River. 

During the controversy between the settlers under 
the New Hampshire grants and the colony of New 
York, a project was started by Major Skene and others 
to form that part of New York, lying east of the Hud- 
son River, into a new Province. To effect this object 
Skene visited England, and in March, 1775, wrote back 
that he had been appointed Governor of Crown Point 
and Ticonderoga, and should soon call on the people 
for an address to show their loyalty to the King. Dur- 
ing the absence of Skene the troubles on the grants 
had increased to an alarming extent, and it is extreme- 
ly doubtful what would have been the result of the 
contest, had not the commencement of the American 
Revolution turned the attention of all parties to the 
common cause of the country. 



War of the Kevolution Surprise of Ticonderoga Arnold at St. 
Johns Sentiments of the Canadians Invasion of Canada Seige 
of St. Johns Death of General Montgomery at Quebec Retreat 
of the " Army of Canada." 

" WE conjure you by all that is dear, by all that is 
sacred, that you give all assistance possible in forming 
an army for our defence," was the appeal of Massachu- 
setts, while the first blood of the Revolution yet moist- 
ened the field of Lexington. Every section of the 
country responded to the call. Liberty poles were 
raised throughout Massachusetts and the adjoining 
Provinces, and everywhere the militia took up arms 
and hastened to the scene of action. 

" Putnam was at work in the field when the news 
came that blood had been shed ; he immediately drop- 
ped his implements, and started for Cambridge, with- 
out waiting to change his apparel. Stark was sawing 
logs, without his coat ; he shut down the gate of his 
mill, and commenced the journey to Boston in his shirt 
sleeves." The same spirit was displayed throughout 
the country. Occasionally, however, a few persons 
were found who were inimical to the common cause. 
These were called Tories, and were often subjected to 
the most rigorous discipline. " When a disaffected 
tory renders himself odious," says Doctor Thacher, 
" he .is seized by a company of armed men, and con- 
ducted to the liberty pole, under which he is compelled 
to sign a recantation, and give bonds for his future 
good conduct." 

Upon one occasion a divine of Long Island pro- 
nounced, from his pulpit, a severe philippic against 
the Patriots, stigmatizing them as rebels, robbers and 
assassins. Information of the high tory character of 
the discourse was carried to Captain Nathaniel Platt, 


a most zealous Patriot, who commanded a company ot 
Long Island Militia. Capt. Platt immediately called 
out his men, seized the minister and carried him to the 
liberty pole, around which the company were formed. 
The minister was there severely reprimanded, and 
forced to walk up and kiss the pole as a punishment 
for his political heresy. On the next Sabbath Captain 
Platt was at the church, to see what effect his " disci- 
pline " had produced upon the man of God. For a 
long time the discourse was unexceptionable, but, 
while the minister was portraying the enjoyments of 
heaven to the true Christian, he gave expression to his 
feelings by turning towards the Captain and exclaiming, 
" there are no rebels in heaven, my brethren. No ! 
and you will find no Nathaniel Platts there, nor any 
accursed liberty poles to kiss." 

The great body of the clergy, however, were firm 
and zealous Patriots, who daily offered the most fer- 
vent prayers in behalf of their bleeding and afflicted 
country. Upon one occasion, a zealous divine, who 
had been compelled to abandon his congregation in 
Boston, used the following emphatic language. " Oh ! 
Lord, if our enemies will fight us, let them have fight- 
ing enough. If more soldiers are on^their way hither, 
sink them, O Lord, to the bottom of the sea." 
" Amen," responded his congregation, " Yea, Lord, let 
them have fighting enough." 

Among the men brought out by the Revolution to 
meet the exigencies of the times, were Ethan Allen 
and Benedict Arnold. Arnold, a native of Connecti- 
cut, was indued with qualities which characterized him 
at once, as the best of warriors and the meanest of men. 
In battle he was " the bravest among the brave." No 
enterprise was too daring for him to undertake, no 
obstacle too great for him to surmount. Whether 
among the unexplored forests of Maine, upon the decks 
of a little vessel on Lake Champlain, before the muskets 
of a platoon at Danbury, or under the fire of Bur- 
goyne's veterans at Bemis' Heights, he was firm, dar- 
ing and unterrified, But, in every other respect, the 


man was despicable. In early life he had been, by 
turns, a half-bred apothecary, a retailer, a skipper and 
a jockey, and had marked his course by hypocrisy, 
falsehood and crime. To escape the grasp of his 
creditors, he committed perjury, and to relieve himself 
of pecuniary embarrassments, occasioned by a life of 
extravagance and profligacy, he practiced every dirty 
act of peculation, and, ultimately, aimed a traitor's 
dagger at the bosom of his country. 

Ethan Allen was also a native of Connecticut and 
possessed all the impetuous daring of Arnold, but with- 
out his vices. Associated in early life with the pioneers 
of Vermont, he soon became one of the leading men in 
that quarter, and by his bold unyielding spirit, repelled 
the repeated attempts of New York to extend her juris- 
diction over the New Hampshire Grants. As a politi- 
cal writer he was clear and forcible, but uncultivated ; 
as a leader, bold and decided, but often rash ; as a man, 
frank, generous and unassuming. 

Such were the two men who, on the 7th of May, 1775, 
met at Castleton to lead an expedition to the surprise 
of Ticonderoga. Allen, furnished with funds by Dean, 
Wooster and Parsons, in behalf of the Assembly of Con- 
necticut, had collected a band of two hundred and seven- 
ty men, all but forty-six of whom were his own well 
tried and faithful Green Mountain Boys, led by Brown 
and the cool and cautious Warner. Arnold came 
attended by a single servant, but bringing with him a 
Colonel's commission from the Committee of Safety of 
Massachusetts, authorizing him to raise a regiment 
of four hundred men. As soon as the two leaders met, 
Arnold pompously drew forth his commission and 
claimed the right to lead the expedition ; but Allen re- 
fused to yield the command. The dispute was at length 
referred to a committee of officers, by whom it was de- 
cided that Allen should retain the command, while Ar- 
nold was to act as his assistant. The main body now 
left Castleton to proceed by land to a point opposite Ti- 
conderoga. At the same time Captain Herrick was 
sent against Skenesborough, with thirty men, with 


orders to seize the small fort at that place, to take the 
vessels collected there and meet Allen and transport 
his party across the lake. 

The forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, had been 
abandoned soon after the Conquest of Canada, and 
were now in a ruinous condition. Within the year a 
garrison had been sent there, at the request of the Gov- 
ernor of New York, to protect the public property, and 
to secure that section from the threatened encroach- 
ments of the New Hampshire claimants. The garrison 
was, however, small and weak ; Crown Point being held 
by a sergeant and twelve men, while a company of only 
forty-eight men, under command of Captain de la 
Place, was stationed at Ticonderoga. 

Early on the evening of the 9th of May, Allen's party 
reached the shore of the lake opposite Ticonderoga. 
Herrick not having yet arrived from Skenesborough, it 
became necessary to procure a supply of boats in the 
neighborhood, in order to cross to the Fort. This was 
a work of no small difficulty. Douglass, one of the 
party, was sent to Bridport for a scow. A large oar 
boat belonging to Major Skene, which lay at anchor 
near by, was decoyed ashore and seized by James Wil- 
cox and Joseph Tyler, while several smaller boats were 
procured from other quarters. 

As these boats were not sufficient' to ferry the whoj.e 
party at once, it was arranged that Allen and Arnold 
should first cross with eighty-three men, and that the 
boats should return for the rest of the party, who were 
to remain behind under command of Warner. The 
little band, guided by Nathan Beman, a lad of fifteen 
years, was soon drawn up on the low ground below the 
fort, where an altercation again commenced between 
the two leaders ; each claiming the right to lead the ad- 
vance. Again the subordinate officers interfered, and 
decided that they should go in together Allen on the 
right hand, and Arnold on the left. As the day began 
to break, it was deemed prudent to make the attack 
without waiting for the arrival of Warner, who had not 
yet crossed the lake with his party. 


Allen now advanced to the front, arid addressed his 
men, as follows : *' Friends and fellow Soldiers You 
have, for a number of 3 ears past, been a scourge and 
terror to arbitrary power. Your valor has been famed 
abroad and acknowledged, as appears by the advice 
and orders to me. from the General Assembly of Con- 
necticut, to surprise and take the garrison now before 
us. I now propose to advance before you and in per- 
son conduct you through the wicket gate ; for we must 
this morning either quit our pretentious to valor, or 
possess ourselves of this fortress in a few minutes ; and 
inasmuch as it is a desperate attempt, which none but 
the bravest of men dare undertake, I do not urge it 
on any contrary to his will. You that will undertake 
voluntarily, poise your firelocks " "Each man," says 
Allen, " poised his firelock. I ordered them to face to 
the right, and, at the head of the centre file, march- 
ed them immediately to the wicket gate."* 

When they approached, the sentinel snapped his gun, 
and immediately retreated through the covered way 
closely followed by the assailants, who were thus guid- 
ed within the fort. As the Patriots rushed into the 
parade ground, they formed in the centre, facing the 
barracks, and gave a loud cheer, while Allen ascended 
a flight of steps leading to the commandant's quarters, 
and, in a loud voice, ordered him to appear or the 
whole garrison would be sacrificed. 

In this affair, the Patriots captured forty-eight men, 
one hundred and twenty pieces of cannon, several 
swivels and howitzers, together with a large number 
of small arms and ammunition of every description, 
and also a warehouse filled with materials for boat 
building. Colonel Warner arrived, with the remain- 
der of the party, just after the surrender of the fort, 
and was immediately sent, with one hundred men, to 
take possession of Crown Point ; but a strong head- 
wind drove his boats back, and he returned to Ticon- 
deroga. The next morning a more successful attempt 

*Allen's Narrative. 


was made, and the fort at Crown Point was captured 
without bloodshed. Warner was there met by Captain 
Remember Baker, who had left the small fort on the 
Winooski to join Allen's party, and who, on his way 
up the lake, had intercepted two boats, which had been 
sent from Crown Point to carry intelligence of the re- 
duction of Ticonderoga to St. Johns and Montreal. 

It will be remembered that when the Patriots left 
Castleton Captain Herrick was sent, with thirty men, 
against Skenesborough. Herrick approached the place 
unobserved, and captured young Major Skene, twelve 
negroes and about fifty dependents or tenants, without 
firing a gun. He also took a large schooner and several 
small boats belonging to Skene, in which he embarked 
his men and prisoners, and, passing down the lake, 
joined Allen at Ticonderoga. The history of the sur- 
prise of Skenesborough is embellished by an account of 
a singular discovery made there by the Patriots. It is 
said that some of Herrick's men, while searching 
Skene's house, found the dead body of a female de- 
posited in the cellar, where it had been preserved for 
many years. This was the body of Mrs. Skene, the 
deceased wife of the elder Skene who was then in 
Europe, and who was in the receipt of an annuity, 
which had been devised to his wife " while she remain- 
ed above ground." Like a good patriot, Herrick crip- 
pled the resources of the enemy, by burying the body 
in the garden at the rear of the house. 

In order to accomplish their plans, and to obtain 
absolute control of the lake, it was now only necessary 
that Allen and Arnold should get possession of an 
armed sloop, of about seventy tons, which lay at anchor 
in the Richelieu River, near the fort of St. Johns. 
After consultation and a dispute between the two 
officers, who were mutually jealous of each other, it 
was agreed that Arnold should fit out and arm the 
schooner which Herrick had captured at Skenesborough. 
and sail for St. Johns, accompanied by Allen, who was 
to take command of several log-boats, which lay at 
Crown Point. 


The schooner having been brought to Crown Point, 
Arnold embarked on the evening of the 14th of May, 
with fifty men under Captains Brown and Oswald, and 
on the 17th, arrived within thirty miles of St. Johns, 
where his vessel was becalmed. Leaving the schooner, 
he manned two small boats with thirty-five men, and 
started to row down the river. At six o'clock thenext 
morning he arrived at St. Johns, and surprised a ser- 
geant and twelve men who garrisoned the fort. He 
also seized the sloop, in which he found seven men and 
two brass six pounders. From the prisoners he learned 
that the commanding officer of the fort was hourly 
expected to return from Montreal, witli a large detach- 
ment of troops for Ticonderoga, and a number of guns 
and carriages for the sloop. A company of forty men 
was also momentarily expected from Chambly. 

Arnold had at first intended to await the arrival of 
Allen, who had been left far behind by the schooner, 
while crossing the lake, but this information caused 
him to hasten his departure. Having destroyed three 
row-boats, he immediately set out on his return, taking 
with him the sloop, four boats loaded with stores and 
twenty prisoners. The party had proceeded about 
fifteen miles when they met Allen, with one hundred 
men, hastening down the river. Arnold informed 
Allen of the unexpected arrival of troops at St. Johns, 
and urged him to return. But this Allen refused to 
do, declaring that he should push on to St. Johns, 
and hold possession of it with the men under his com- 

When Allen reached St. Johns, he found the Eng- 
lish troops were within two miles of the fort. He 
therefore crossed to the opposite side of the river, 
where he encamped for the night. Early the next 
morning the English commenced a fire upon the party, 
with six field pieces and two hundred small arms. 
Allen returned this fire for a short time, but finding he 
could make no resistance against the superior numbers 

* Arnold to Committee of Safety of Massachusetts. 


opposed to him, he hastily re-embarked, leaving three 
of his men behind.* 

As soon as Arnold reached Crown Point, on his 
return, he fitted up the sloop with six cannon and ten 
swivels, fixed four guns and six swivels on the 
schooner, and prepared to resist any attack which might 
be made against that place from Canada. At the same 
time he wrote to the Committee of Safety of Massa- 
chusetts and New York, urging them to send forward 
a large body of men to rebuild the fort at Ticonderoga. 

The fortunate issue of the movement against the 
British possessions on Lake Champlain was of the 
utmost importance to the cause of the country, as it 
created a confidence among the people in the ultimate 
success of the struggle, and at the same time, placed 
the colonists in possession of the Key to Canada, 
effectually preventing any sudden attack from that 

The feelings of the Canadians, in regard to the 
approaching struggle, were not known, nor could it 
yet be determined which side of the question they 
would take. Sir Guy Caiieton, Governor of Canada, 
used every exertion to enlist them on the side of the 
Government, while the American Congress, on its part, 
endeavored to conciliate their friendship and induce 
them to make common cause with the colonists, or, at 
least, to stand neutral during the approaching struggle. 
The efforts of Congress were so far successful as to 
secure their neutrality. 

Disappointed in not receiving the co-operation of the 
Canadians, Gen. Carleton next attempted to rally the 
royalists, and for that purpose, organized a corps to 
which he gave the name of the ' Royal Highland Emi- 
grants." He also entered into negotiations with the 
Indians. Toward the last of July Colonel Guy John- 
son, superintendent of Indian affairs, arrived at 
Montreal, accompanied by a number of the chiefs and 
warriors of the Six Nations. Here a solemn council 
was held, and the assembled Indians swore, in the 
* Arnold to General Assembly of Massachusetts. 


presence of the Governor, to support the cause of the 
King against the Colonists. A great number, how- 
ever, who had not attended the council, declared they 
would not intermeddle in the dispute, nor would they 
consent to aid or oppose either party. 

The American Congress was informed of these at- 
tempts, on the part of General Carleton, to enlist the 
Canadians and Indians on the side of the King. It was 
also advised that the Canadians had refused to enter 
into the contest; but there was no assurance that they 
would long preserve their neutrality. Carleton had 
obtained great influence over this class, and might 
ultimately succeed in drawing them over to his side. 
To prevent this, and in the ho^>es that the habitant 
might be persuaded to embrace the opportunity to 
attempt the vindication of their political rights, Con- 
gress determined to fit out an expedition for the inva- 
sion of Canada. For this purpose three thousand 
New York and New England troops were ordered to 
assemble at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, under the 
command of Major-general Schuyler and Brigadier- 
general Montgomery ; while an expedition was organ- 
ized to march against Quebec, by the way of the Ken- 
nebec River. 

A large number of flat-bottomed boats were built at 
Skenesborough, Ticonderoga and Crown Point, for the 
transportation of the army across the lake, and Con- 
gress, by great exertions, raised the sum of fifty thou- 
sand dollars, in specie, for the support of the army 
while in Canada. The arrangements for the expedi- 
tion were conducted by General Montgomery, while 
General Schuyler remained at Albany, to close negotia- 
tions for a treaty of peace with the Mohawk Indians, 
over whom he had great influence. 

General Carleton, in the meantime, was actively 
engaged in preparations to oppose the advance of the 
American army. He placed the works at St. Johns in 
good repair, and directed a large vessel to be construct- 
ed there, which he intended to station near the north 
or lower end of the lake. 


The American Generals deemed it important, by an 
immediate movement, to prevent Carleton from getting 
possession of the passage down the Richelieu River. 
Montgomery, therefore, on the 4th of September, em- 
barked what men he had collected at Crown Point, and 
sailed for Canada, leaving orders for the rest to follow, 
as soon as they should arrive. Schuyler left Albany in 
great haste, and following rapidly, joined Montgomery 
near Isle la Motte. From that place the two Generals 
moved to Isle Aux Noix, where they issued an address 
to the Canadians, assuring them that the army was 
not designed to act against their country, but was 
directed only against the British garrisons and troops ; 
and exhorting them to join the Americans in order to 
assert and defend their liberties. Copies of this ad- 
dress were distributed by Colonel Allen and Major 
Brown, who were sent among the people of the adja- 
cent country for that purpose. 

The army, although not over one thousand strong, 
now moved forward, and soon afterwards landed about 
one and a half miles above the Fort of St. Johns. At 
this point the ground was marshy and covered with 
thick woods, through which the men had to pass, in 
order to reach the fort. While advancing to recon- 
noitre the works, the left wing was attacked by a 
party of Indians, who killed three and wounded eight 
of the Americans. The Indians were, however, re- 
pulsed with some loss. Schuyler then advanced to 
within sight of the fort, where he commenced a breast- 
work, but finding the fort strongly fortified and garris- 
oned, and learning that the armed sloop was prepar- 
ing to sail from St. Johns towards his boats, which had 
been left with only a slight guard, he determined to 
retire to the Isle Aux Noix, and there await the arrival 
of the artillery and the rest of the troops, who were 
daily expected. Schuyler fortified Isle Aux Noix, and 
to prevent the passage of the sloop into the lake, con- 
structed a chevaux-de-frise across the channel of the 
river, which is very narrow at this point. As soon as 
these arrangements were completed, he returned to 


Albany to conclude his treaty with the Indians, where 
he was attacked with a severe illness which disabled 
him from duty. The conduct of the Canada expedi- 
tion then devolved upon General Montgomery, who 
retained the sole command until he fell under the 
walls of Quebec. 

A small detachment of recruits, with a few pieces 
of artillery, having arrived at Isle Aux Noix, Mont- 
gomery determined again to push forward and under- 
take the seige of St. Johns. This fort was garrisoned 
by five or six hundred regulars and two hundred Cana- 
dians, under Major Preston, and was well supplied 
with stores, ammunition and artillery. The American 
army, on the contrary, was undisciplined and disorderly, 
the artillery was too light, the mortars were defective, 
the ammunition scarce and the artillerists unpractised 
in their duties. Still these difficulties did not abate 
the ardor or zeal of the commanding officer. 

On the 18th of September, Montgomery led a party 
of five hundred men to the north of the fort, where 
he met a detachment from the garrison, with which 
he had a slight skirmish. Proceeding a little further 
north, he formed an intrenched camp at the junction 
of the roads leading from Montreal and Chambly, and 
then hastened back to bring up his artillery. A few 
days afterwards the camp was moved to higher ground, 
north-west of the fort, where abreast-work was thrown 

Although the Americans had now encompassed the 
fort, they could do but little towards a regular seige 
for the want of ammunition and heavy guns to breach 
the works; but fortune soon opened a way through 
which to remedy this deficiency. A little below St. 
Johns, and upon the same river, is Fort Chambly, 
which then contained several pieces of cannon, one 
hundred and twenty-four barrels of gunpowder and a 
large quantity of military stores and provisions. The 
fort was garrisoned by six officers and eighty-three 
privates. On the 18th of October, a strong detnch- 
ment of Americans and Canadians many of the latter 


having, by this time, joined the army were placed 
under command of Majors Livingston and Brown, and 
ordered to attack the fort. The detachment passed 
down the river in boats during a dark night, and sur- 
prised the fort, which made but a feeble resistance. The 
stores and ammunition were sent to Montgomery, who, 
now supplied with the necessary munitions, pressed 
the seige of St. Johns with vigor. A strong battery of 
four guns and six mortars was erected within two 
hundred and fifty yards of the fort, and a block-house 
was built on the opposite side of the river, mounting 
one gun and two mortars. 

While Montgomery was thus employed at St. Johns, 
detachments of his army were scouring the country be- 
tween the Richelieu and the St. Lawrence. One of 
these detachments, numbering- about eighty men, under 
command of Colonel Ethan Allen, passed through all 
the parishes east of the Richelieu, as far as its mouth. 
From this point, Allen moved up the east bank of the 
St. Lawrence to Longueuil, where he crossed the river, 
and, on the morning of the 25th of September, appear- 
ed unexpectedly before the city of Montreal. He was 
there met by General Carleton, and, with his whole 
party, taken prisoner. A few days later, Carleton left 
Montreal with one thousand regulars, Canadians and 
Indians, for the purpose of raising the seige of Fort St. 
Johns. He embarked upon the St. Lawrence and at- 
tempted to land at Longueuil, but was driven back by 
Colonel Seth Warner, who, with three hundred " Green 
Mountain Boys," lay secreted on the east bank of the 

When Montgomery heard of Colonel Warner's suc- 
cess, he sent a flag to Major Preston informing him of 
Carleton's repulse, and demanding the immediate sur- 
render of the fort. Preston asked for a delay of four 
days, which was denied, and the demand renewed. The 
next morning, (Nov. 3d,) the whole garrison surren- 
dered as prisoners of war. Among the spoils found in 
the fort were seventeen pieces of brass ordnance, two 
howitzers, seven mortars, twenty-two iron cannon and 


eight hundred stand of arms, with a quantity of shot 
and small shells. The prisoners were treated with 
great kindness, and were conveyed by the way of 
Ticonderoga, into the interior of New England for 

Montgomery received great praise for the energy and 
perseverance with which lie had, for six weeks, urged 
the seige against obstacles of the most difficult and 
embarrassing character. Not only did he lack proper 
implements and munitions of war, but his army was 
composed of young and raw troops, unused to the pri- 
vations of the field, or to military restraint. Indeed 
his camp at times resembled a great political assembly. 
Prompt and implicit obedience to orders was unknown. 
Each man claimed a right to canvass, debate and decide 
upon all the plans and movements of the campaign. 
This insubordination extended through all the grades 
of the army. The Colonels would dispute with the 
General, to be themselves opposed by their Captains; 
and when these last were convinced, the whole subject 
must again be debated with the rank and file, who 
claimed an equal right of judging for themselves 
whether the proposed plan was expedient. It required 
the kind temper, patriotic zeal and winning eloquence 
of Montgomery to restrain such turbulent and dis- 
affected spirits from acts of open mutiny. 

After the capitulation of Fort St. Johns, Montgomery 
marched against Montreal, and entered that city on the 
13th of November. He then moved down the St. 
Lawrence, and on the 1st of December arrived at Point 
Aux Trembles, about twenty miles above Quebec, 
where he found Colonel Benedict Arnold, who had 
crossed to the St. Lawrence, through the thick forest 
and the almost impassible mountains of Maine. On 
the 5th, the united forces, even yet less in number 
than the British, arrived within sight of the walls of 
Quebec, and at two o'clock on the morning of the 31st, 
advanced to the assault of the city. 

Captains Brown and Livingston, with ninety-four 
men, were directed to lead a feint against the upper 


town, while Montgomery was to advance by the way 
of Cape Diamond, and Arnold through St. Roche, to 
assault the lower town, on opposite sides. The morn- 
ing was cold and stormy ; the snow fell fast, and was 
piled in heavy drifts by a furious north-west wind. 
Cautiously Montgomery led his men in the dark from 
the Plains of Abraham to Wolfe's Cove, and along the 
margin of the river to a point under Cape Diamond, 
where the British had erected a strong stockade, ex- 
tending from the precipice to the brink of the river. 
On the approach of the Americans, the men posted 
behind the stockade retreated to a block-house, which 
stood a short distance to the north, and which was 
pierced with loop-holes for musketry and cannon. In 
the second story of the block-house were some cannon 
charged with grape and canister shot, and so pointed 
as to sweep the narrow cartway above. 

As the assailants advanced, and when they were 
within forty paces of the block-house, a single gun 
loaded with grape was discharged, which killed Mont- 
gomery, his two aids, Captains McPherson and Cheese- 
man, and every man in front except Captain Aaron 
Burr and a French guide. The brave and gallant 
Montgomery fell into Burr's arms and expired. The 
rest of the party, appalled at the fearful havoc and the 
death of their general, retired in confusion. 

The attack upon the opposite side of the town was 
equally unsuccessful. The detachment passed through 
St. Roche towards a two gun battery, which was cap- 
tured by Morgan's riflemen, after an hour's severe 
struggle. At the commencement of the attack Arnold 
received a severe wound in the leg, and was carried 
helpless from the field. Morgan continued the fight, 
until one half of his men were killed, and the rest were 
benumbed and helpless from cold, when he surrendered. 

Montgomery was endeared to the army and to his 
country, by the possession of every noble virtue. 
With intrepid bravery he led his little band of half 
clothed and undisciplined men under the walls of 
Quebec, and fell upon a soil already hallowed by the 


blood of a Wolfe and a Montcalm. His death was a 
great public calamity. America acknowledged his 
worth and paid public honors to his memory, while the 
eloquence of England's purest statesmen proclaimed 
his praise upon the floor of the British Parliament. 
" Happy would it have been for Arnold," exclaims a 
celebrated American,* " if instead of being wounded, 
he too had died, since by his subsequent treason at 
West Point, he blasted forever the glory of his gallant 
conduct on that occasion." 

After the death of Montgomery, the remains of the 
little army retired to a point about three miles up the 
river, where they lemained during the winter. On the 
1st of May, General Thomas arrived and took com- 
mand of the troops, which, by reinforcements from time 
to time, now numbered about nineteen hundred men. 
The army was soon afterwards increased to three thou- 
sand, but the small-pox breaking out in the ranks, with 
great severity, not over nine hundred were fit for duty. 
General Thomas in a few days retired as far as the 
mouth of the Richelieu, where he was taken down with 
the small-pox. He was removed to Chambly,and died 
there on the 2d of June. About the time of Thomas' 
death, General Sullivan arrived in Canada with a rein- 
forcement of several battalions, and assumed the chief 

Early in the spring of 1776, the British force in 
Canada was augmented by the arrival from England of 
thirteen thousand men, a large portion of whom were 
sent into camp at Three Rivers. Against this place an 
unsuccessful attack was made, in which General Thomp- 
son and two hundred men were taken prisoners. Other 
reverses followed, until General Sullivan, finding his 
numbers greatly diminished by sickness, desertion and 
death, determined to evacuate Canada. He therefore, 
on the 14th of June, abandoned his position at the 
mouth of the Richelieu and leisurely moved up its 
banks towards St. Johns. Arnold, who had been pro- 
moted to the rank of Brigadier-general, and who then 
* Colonel Trumbull. 


commanded at Montreal, withdrew from that city on 
the 15th, and inarching across the country, joined Sul- 
livan's division at Chambly. 

The American General conducted the retreat in good 
order, and saved all the baggage, artillery and military 
stores, which were dragged up the rapids of the Riche- 
lieu in boats. The army reached St. Johns towards 
the last of June. The sick were immediately sent to 
Isle Aux Noix, Point au Fer and Isle La Mott, when 
the boats returned and took the remainder of the troops 
to Isle Aux Noix. Here the men fit for duty remained 
for eight days, waiting for the boats to take the sick to 
Crown Point and to return. It is difficult to conceive 
a degree of misery greater than that suffered by the 
invalids during their voyage through the lake. The 
boats were leaky and without awnings, and the men, 
lying upon the bottom, were drenched with water, and, 
at the same time, exposed to the burning sun. Their 
only sustenance was raw and rancid pork and hard bis- 
cuit or unbaked flour. "The sight of so much misery, 
privation and distress," says Doctor Meyrick, " broke 
my heart, and I wept till I had no more power to weep." 

When the boats returned to Isle Aux Noix they were 
loaded with the baggage, while the men were sent by 
land to Point Au Fer, which had been fortified by 
order of General Sullivan. At that place they found a 
supply of boats awaiting them, in which they embarked, 
and, on the 3d of July, reached Crown Point. 

The broken fragments of " the army of Canada" 
presented one of the most distressing sights witnessed 
during the whole war. Of the five thousand two hun- 
dred men collected at Crown Point, twenty-eight hun- 
dred were so sick as to require the attentions of the 
hospital, while those reported as " fit for duty," were 
half naked, emaciated and entirely broken down in 
strength, spirits and discipline. Some few lay in tents, 
others in half-built sheds, but by far the greater num- 
ber occupied miserable bush huts, which afforded a 
slight shelter from the burning sun, but were no pro- 
tection against the damp and unhealthy night air. 


Among these tents and huts the men were scattered in 
indiscriminate confusion, without regard to comfort or 
health or to the distinction of companies, regiments or 
corps. " I found the troops totally disorganized by 
the death or sickness of officers," says Colonel Trum- 
bull ; " and I can truly say, that I did not look into 
tent or hut in which I did not find either a dead or 
dying man." The troops remained about ten days at 
Crown Point, and when they left for Ticonderoga, over 
three hundred new made graves attested the frightful 
ravages that death had made among their broken 

*Botta's American Revolution American Archives, Fifth Series 
TrumbulPs Reminiscences of his own Times Thacher's Military 
Journal Davis' Memoirs of A. Burr Journal of the New York 
Provincial Congress Allen's Narrative. 



1776 The Americans and British Build Armed Vessels on Lake 
Champlain Arnold's Cruise on the Lake Battle of Valcour Isl- 
and Defeat of the American Fleet near Split Rock The British 
occupy Crown Point Condition of the American Army at Ticon- 

THE plan of the campaign of 1776, as formed by 
the British Ministry, contemplated a separate move- 
ment against Ticonderoga and New York, and the 
conjunction of the two armies at Albany. General and 
Lord Howe were sent with a large military and naval 
force against New York, while the thirteen thousand 
troops collected in Canada were placed under the com- 
mand of Sir Guy Carleton, who had under him Gen- 
erals Burgoyne, Phillips, Fraser, Nesbit and Reidesel ; 
all men of acknowledged skill and ability. Several 
vessels were built in England, and sent over to be used 
on Lake Champlain. 

During the summer of 1776, the English were busi- 
ly engaged in preparing a fleet for the lake service. 
Seamen, ship carpenters and laborers were collected at 
St. Johns in numbers. The vessels built in England 
were taken to pieces, carried over the rapids of the 
Richelieu and reconstructed. Several other vessels 
were brought up from the St. Lawrence, and a great 
number of transports were framed and launched at St. 
Johns. The fort at St. Johns was repaired and 
strengthened, and garrisoned with three thousand men ; 
an equal number was stationed at Isle Aux Noix. The 
rest of the troops were reserved to man the armed ves- 
sels and transports, and to form the army of invasion. 
Six hundred and ninety-seven seamen were also drafted 
from the Isis and the other ships of war lying at Que- 
bec, and sent forward to Lake Champlain.* 

* The number of seaman detached for this service, were as follows: 


While the English were thus engaged, the Americans 
were actively employed, at the other extremity of the 
lake, in preparations to repel the threatened invasion. 
On the 17th of June, Congress appointed Major-General 
Gates to the command at Ticonderoga and Crown 
Point. Gates found those posts in a very reduced 
condition. The small-pox was still prevalent among 
the troops, not a cannon was mounted, nor were any 
preparations made for defense. The first efforts of the 
Commander-in-chief were directed to recruiting the 
ranks, restoring the men to health, and providing them 
with clothing and necessary accommodations. Those 
sick of the small-pox were sent to a general hospital 
established at the head of Lake George. Reinforce- 
ments were earnestly solicited from the Eastern States, 
and requisitions made for ship carpenters to be em- 
ployed at Skenesborough in building the hulls of 
galleys and boats. Crown Point was reduced to a 
mere post of observation, while the most active efforts 
were made to enlarge and strengthen the defenses at 
Ticonderoga. Mount Independence was carefully 
examined by Colonels Wayne and Trumbull, who 
reported that the ground was finely adapted for a mili- 
tary post. A portion of the troops were ordered to 
clear away the wood and to encamp upon this eminence. 
The Pennsylvania regiments, the elite of the army, 
were posted at the " French lines," which they were 
ordered to repair ; and the old works were strengthened 
at all points. 

The small fort at Skenesborough was also repaired, 
and that place selected as the point of rendezvous for 
the expected reinforcements. The lake above Ticon- 
deroga soon presented a scene of busy activity, as boats 
were constantly passing and repassing, loaded with 
men, provisions and munitions of war. By the month 
of September an army of from eight to ten thousand 

From the Isis, 100; Blood, 70; Triton, 60; Garland, 30; Canceaux, 
40; Magdalen, Brunswick and Gasper, 18; Treasury and several 
armed Brigs, 90; Fell, 30; Charlotte, 9; from Transports, 214; Vol- 
unteers, 9; besides 8 Officers and 19 Petty Officers. 


men were assembled at Ticonderoga. Each regiment 
had its alarm post assigned, to which it was ordered to 
repair at' daylight every morning, and every means 
was taken by the officers to bring the whole body to a 
state of high discipline.* 

The superintendence of the construction of the fleet 
was confided to General Arnold, who entered upon the 
work with his characteristic energy, but, in its prog- 
ress, found himself surrounded by great and compli- 
cated difficulties, occasioned by the want or limited 
supply of nearly all the materials necessary for boat 
building, or for a naval equipment. But these em- 
barrassments only excited the men to greater exertions. 
By the middle of August, Arnold was prepared to take 
the lake with a naval force, carrying fifty -five guns and 
seventy-eight swivels and manned by three hundred 
and ninety-five men. His fleet consisted of the sloop 
Enterprise, Captain Dickson ; the schooner Royal 
Savage, Captain Wynkoop ; schooner Revenge, Captain 
Seaman ; schooner Liberty, Captain Premier ; and -the 
gondolas New Haven, Providence, Boston, Spitfire and 

With this force Arnold sailed from Crown Point on 
the 20th of August, and cruised between that place 
and the mouth of the Bouquet River, until the 2d of 
September. On the evening of the 2d he proceeded 
north as far as Schuyler Island, and, the next day, 
reached Windmill Point, eight miles below Isle la 
Motte. It was his first intention to have gone as far 
down as Isle Aux Tetes, but finding that island already 
occupied by the British, he anchored off Windmill 
Point, in a line from shore to shore, and sent his look- 
out-boats about one mile below, with orders to keep a 
sharp eye upon the movements of the enemy. 

On the morning of the 6th, several boats were sent 
on shore for fascines to fix on the bows and sides of the 

* TrnmbulPs Reminiscences of his own Times. 

t The Enterprise had been captured by Arnold at St. Johns; the 
Liberty by Herrick at Skenesborough. The other vessels were built 
at Skenesborough and then taken to Ticonderoga and Crown Point, 
where they received their sails, military stores, and equipment. 


gondolas, to prevent the enemy from boarding, and to 
protect the men from the fire of musketry. One of the 
boats reached the shore before the others, and was at- 
tacked by a party of Indians, who occupied the adjoin- 
ing woods. Before the men could row off, three of their 
number were killed and six wounded. Arnold imme- 
diately ordered his vessels to discharge their broadsides 
towards the woods, when the Indians precipitately re- 
treated.* The same morning the fleet was reinforced 
by the arrival of the galley Lee, of six guns, and the 
gondola Connecticut, of three guns. 

The noise of the firing on the morning of the 6th, 
was distinctly heard at Crown Point, fifty miles distant 
Lieutenant-Colonel Hartley, the commanding officer 
there, immediately wrote to General Gates, at Ticon- 
deroga, that an engagement had undoubtedly taken 
place between Arnold and the enemy. Gates sent the 
letter, by express, to General Schuyler, then at Albany, 
who ordered out the Ulster and Dutchess County, and 
a portion of the New England militia. This order was 
revoked on the 18th, when the true account of the 
affair reached Albany.f 

On the night of the 7th, the English sent strong par- 
ties up the river, and commenced preparations to erect 
batteries on both sides of Arnold's position. This move- 
ment induced Arnold to retire as far back as the Isle 
La Motte, where he came to anchor about two o'clock 
on the afternoon of the 6th. Here the fleet remained 
until the 19th, when it removed to Bay St. Amand, 
which lies on the west side of the lake, a few miles 
north of Cumberland Head. As the schooner Liberty 
was on her way to this anchorage, she was hailed by a 
Canadian, who came down to the water's edge and re- 
quested to be taken on board. Captain Premier sent a 
boat towards the shore, with orders to approach with 
caution and to keep her swivels pointed and the matches 
ready to fire in case everything was not right. The 
man on shore waded about a rod into the water and 

* Arnold to Major-general Gates, Sept. 7, 1776. 
t American Archives, Fifth Series. 


stopped, entreating the boat's crew to come to him. 
Finding he could not decoy them into shallow water, 
he made a signal, when about three hundred Canadians 
and Indians, who were secreted in the woods near the 
shore, uncovered and fired into the boat, wounding 
three of the crew. The boat returned the fire with her 
swivels and small arms, and the schooner discharged 
several broadsides of grape, when the party retreated, 
having apparently suffered some loss.* 

While Arnold lay at Bay St. Amand he sent two 
boats to sound the channel between Valcour Island and 
the main shore, who reported that they found the an- 
chorage there exceedingly fine and secure. To this 
harbor the fleet moved on the 23d of September. A 
few days afterwards the galley Trumbull, Captain 
Warner, arrived, and on the 6th of October, Brigadier 
General Waterbury came up with the galleys Wash- 
ington, Captain Thacher, and Congress, Captain Arnold. 
The entire naval force of the Americans was now col- 
lected at Valcour Island, with the exception of an eight 
gun galley, then receiving her armament at Ticonde- 
roga, and the schooner Liberty, which had been sent 
to Crown Point for supplies. The fleet consisted of 
the sloop Enterprise, mounting ten guns and ten swiv- 
els ; the schooner Royal Savage, twelve guns and ten 
swivels ; the schooner Revenge, eight guns and ten 
swivels ; the galley Lee, six guns and ten swivels ; the 
galleys Trumbull, Congress, and Washington, each 
eight guns and sixteen swivels ; and the gondolas New 
Haven, Providence, Boston, Spitfire, Philadelphia, 
Connecticut, Jersey, and New York, each mounting 
three guns and eight swivels. There were therefore 
fifteen vessels in all, mounting eighty-four guns and 
one hundred and fifty-two swivels. The number of 
men and sailors detached to serve on these vessels was 
eight hundred and eleven, but of this number at least 
one hundred had not yet joined the fleet. Arnold daily 
trained his men at the guns and used his best endeavors 
to reduce them to the proper discipline. He, however, 
*Arnold to Gates, Sept. 21, 1776. 


complained frequently of their inefficiency. " The 
drafts from the regiments at Ticonderoga," he writes 
General Gates, "are a miserable set; indeed the men 
on board the fleet in general are not equal to half their 
number of good men." Again lie says, " we have a 
wretched motley crew in the fleet ; the marines, the 
refuse of every regiment, and the seamen, few of them 
ever wet with salt water ; and we are upwards of one 
hundred men short of our complement." 

At this time the British naval force in the Richelieu 
consisted of the ship Inflexible, Lieutenant Schank, of 
eighteen guns ; the schooner Maria, Lieutenant 
Starke, fourteen guns ; schooner Carleton, Lieutenant 
Dacres, twelve guns ; radeau Thunderer, Lieutenant 
Scott, twelve guns and two howitzers; the gondola 
Loyal Convert, Lieutenant Longcraft, seven guns; 
twenty gun-boats, mounting one gun each, and four 
long boats, with one carriage gun each. There were 
also twenty-four long-boats loaded with the baggage 
and provisions.* The whole force was twenty-nine 
vessels, mounting eighty-nine guns, and manned by six 
hundred and ninety-seven picked seamen, besides a 
number of soldiers and artillerists. A party of In- 
dians accompanied the fleet, in canoes. On their 
way the British erected a block-house at Point Au Fer 
and left four companies to defend it. f 

The route taken by vessels passing up the lake from 
Canada, lies along and nearly parallel to the west shore 
of Grand Isle. Opposite Cumberland Head the lake 
is two miles wide, but, as soon as that point is passed, 
it increases in width to five miles, and does not again 
contract until you approach the mouth of the Bouquet. 
On the western side of the lake, about four miles south- 
west of Cumberland Head, and nearly two miles to the 
right of the track of vessels sailing directly up the 
lake, is the island of Valcour, which is separated from 

* Letter of Captain Douglass of the Isis. The Inflexible, Maria 
and Carleton, were brought from England and reconstructed at St. 

t Hadden's Journal. 


the main shore by a channel about one-half mile in 
width. This channel is deep enough for the largest 
vessels, and is hid from the view of boats sailing up 
the lake, until they have passed some distance south of 
the island. Midway of this channel, and where it is 
most contracted, Arnold anchored his vessels in a line 
extending from shore to shore. " We are moored," he 
writes to General Gates, "in a small bay on the west 
side of the island, as near together as possible, and in 
such form that few vessels can attack us at the 
same time, and those will be exposed to the lire of the 
whole fleet." 

At eight o'clock on Friday morning, October llth, 
the English were discovered passing Cumberland Head 
with a strong north or north-west wind, and bearing in 
the direction of Crown Point, towards which it was 
supposed Arnold had retired. The fleet at this time 
was under the command of Capt. Thomas Pringle, of 
the Lord Howe, who made the schooner Maria his flag 
ship. General Carleton was also on board the Maria, 
but took no command of the fleet. As the English 
appeared in sight, oft Cumberland Head, General 
Waterbury went on board the Congress galley, and 
urged that they should immediately set sail and fight 
the enemy on the retreat in the broad lake ; but Arnold 
declined, at that late hour, to change his plan of 

Capt. Pringle was some distance ahead of Valcour 
when he first discovered the American vessels. He 
immediately changed his course towards the island, 
with a view to engage, but found great difficulty in 
bringing any of his vessels into action. About eleven 
o'clock, however, the gun-boats were enabled to sweep 
to windward and take a position to the south of the 
American fleet, when they opened a fire upon the 
Royal Savage, which, with the galleys, had advanced a 
short distance in front of the line. The British 
schooner Carleton soon after came to the assistance of 
the gun-boats. The Royal Savage sustained the fire 
of the British vessels for some time, during which her 


mast was crippled and much of her rigging shot away. 
She then attempted to return to the line, but, running 
too far to the leeward, grounded near the south-west 
point of the island, and was abandoned by her men, 
who succeeded in reaching the other boats in safety. 
At night the British boarded the schooner, and set fire 
to her.* 

At half-past twelve o'clock the Carleton and the gun- 
boats had approached within musket shot of the Ameri- 
can line, when the action became general, and continued 
without cessation until about five in the afternoon. 
During the engagement Arnold was on board the Con- 
gress, Waterbury on the Washington and Colonel 
Wigglesworth on the Trumbull. The Congress and 
Washington suffered severely. The latter was hulled 
in several places, her main-mast shot though, and her 
sails torn to pieces. Waterbury fought bravely on the 
quarter-deck of his vessel, and towards the close of the 
action was the only active officer on board ; the captain 
and master being severely wounded, and the first 
lieutenant killed. ' The gondola New York lost all 
her officers except Captain Lee, and the gondola 
Philadelphia, Captain Grant, was so badly injured that 
she sank about one hour after the engagement. Arnold 
fought the Congress like a lion at bay, pointing almost 
every gun with his own hands, and cheering his men 
with voice and gesture. His vessel was hulled twelve 
times and received seven shot between wind and water ; 
the main-mast was injured in two places, the rigging 
cut to pieces, and many of the men were killed and 

On the side of the English, the battle was sustained 
by the gun-boats and the schooner Carleton, and by a 
party of Indians who were landed on the island 
and main shore, and kept up an incessant fire of 
musketry during the engagement. The English ves- 

* Arnold's account of the engagement. The hull of the schooner 
lies on the spot where she was sunk, and her upper timbers can yet 
be seen at low water in the lake. Arnold's papers were on board 
the schooner and were lost. 


sels suffered considerably. On board the Carleton 
eight men were killed and six wounded. Two of the 
gun-boats were sunk, and one was blown up, with a 
number of men on board.* About five o'clock in the 
afternoon, Captain Pringle, who had made several un- 
successful attempts to bring his larger vessels into action, 
called off those engaged, and anchored his whole fleet 
just out of reach of the American guns. The Thun- 
derer lay at the right of the line, a little south of Gar- 
den Island,! the schooner Maria on the left near the 
main shore, while the Loyal Convert and the Inflexi- 
ble occupied intermediate positions. The Carleton and 
gun-boats were anchored near and among the other 
vessels. By this arrangement, Captain Pringle hoped 
to prevent the escape of the American fleet during the 


Arnold was well satisfied that he could not success- 
fully resist the superior force, with which the English 
were prepared to attack him on the following morning. 
His men had fought with the most daring bravery and 
resolution, but he had only succeeded in retaining his 
position, by the direction of the wind, which had pre- 
vented the larger vessels of the British fleet from join- 
ing in the action. Even under equally favorable cir- 
cumstances, he could not resist a renewed attack, for 
his boats were already badly crippled, sixty of his men, 
including several officers, killed or wounded, and nearly 
three-fourths of each vessel's ammunition spent. A 
council of war was immediately called, when it was 
determined that the fleet should retire during the night 
towards Crown Point 

* Arnold states the loss, by the blowing up of the gun-boat, at sixty 
men. Letter to Gen. Schuyler, Oct. 15. Lieut. Haddon, who was 
in command of one of the gun-boats, states the loss at twenty. Jour- 

t This is a small island about six hundred yards south of Valcour. 

J Had the gun-boats retained the position occupied by them im- 
mediately after the action, the engagement would probably have been 
renewed the next day and would have resulted in the surrender or 
destruction of Arnold's vessels, but, about sumioun, after the gun- 
boats had received a supply of ammunition, they were ordered to 
anchor under cover of Garden Island, thus leaving the passage along 
the west shore of the lake unguarded. Hodden's Journal. 


At seven o'clock in the evening* Colonel Wigglesworth 
got the Trumbull under way, and directed his course 
towards the upper end of the lake. The Trumbull was 
soon followed by the Enterprise and Lee, with the gon- 
dolas ; and about ten o'clock, Waterbury started in the 
Washington galley, followed closely by Arnold, in the 
Congress. In this order, with a light at the stern of 
each vessel, the fleet passed to Schuyler Island, about 
nine miles distant, where they arrived early next morn- 
ing. On examination Arnold found two of the gondo- 
las too badly injured to repair. These he sank near the 
island, and, having fitted up the other vessels as well as 
his limited time and means would permit, again set sail 
for Crown Point. 

While Arnold was repairing his vessels, the British 
fleet weighed anchor and commenced beating up the 
lake in pursuit; the wind blowing gently from the 
south. Early on the morning of the 13th, the American 
fleet was off the Bouquet, and the English lay a little 
above Schuyler Island. Arnold now had the wind in 
the south, while a fresh north-east wind, blowing in the 
broader part of the lake, favored the English command- 
er, who brought up his leading vessels soon after the 
former had passed Split Rock. On this occasion Cap- 
tain Pringle led in the person in the Maria, closely fol- 
lowed by the Inflexible and Carleton. The Maria and 
Inflexible at first attacked the Washington galley, which 
was too much shattered to keep up with the rest. The 
galley struck after receiving a few shots. The two 
vessels then joined the Carleton, and, for several hoursf 
poured an incessant fire into the Congress galley, which 
was briskly returned. Arnold kept up a running fight 
until he arrived within ten miles of Crown Point, when 
he ran the Congress and four gondolas into a small bay 

* Arnold's account of the Battle. Mr. Cooper, in his Naval History, 
erroneously states that Arnold got under way at 2 o'clock, p. M. 
He also states that the American fleet, on the morning of the llth, 
" was lying off Cumberland Head," and includes in the fleet the 
schooner Liberty, which was then at Crown Point. 

t Captain Pringle says the action commenced at twelve and lasted 
two hours. Arnold says it continued " for about five glasses." 


in Pan ton, on the east side of the lake, and, having re- 
moved the small arms, burned the vessels to the water's 
edge. In this action the Congress lost her first lieu- 
tenant and three men. 

As soon as the boats were consumed, Arnold led his 
party through the woods to Crown Point, where he ar- 
rived at four o'clock the next morning. The sloop 
Enterprise, the schooner Revenge and the galley Truin- 
bull, with one gondola, had reached that place the day 
before, in safety. The galley Lee, Captain Davis, was 
run into a bay on the east side of the lake above Split 
Rock, where she was blown up. The only vessels taken 
by the enemy were the Washington galley and the 
gondola Jersey. The loss of the Americans in both en- 
gagements was between eighty and ninety, including 
the wounded. The English stated their loss in killed 
and wounded at forty. 

Immediately after the action of the 13th, Sir Guy 
Caiieton gave orders for his surgeons to treat the 
wounded prisoners with the same care they did his own 
men. He then directed all the other prisoners to be 
brought on board his ship, where he treated them to a 
drink of grog, praised the bravery of their conduct, re- 
gretted that it had not been displayed in the service of 
their lawful sovereign, and offered to send them home 
to their friends, on their giving their parole that they 
would not again bear arms against Great Britain until 
they should be exchanged. On the 14th, Captain, after- 
wards Sir James Craig, accompanied the prisoners to 
Ticonderoga, where he dismissed them on parole. The 
generous manner in which they had been treated, filled 
the prisoners with the highest emotions of gratitude, 
and they returned proclaiming the praise of the British 
General. The feelings and sentiments expressed by 
these men were such, that it was not considered safe to 
allow them to land, or to converse with the American 
troops. They were therefore sent forward to Skenes- 
borough the same night.* 

The humanity of Governor Carleton's course was 
*TrumbulPs Eemiuiscences of his own Times. 


tinctured with policy. He well knew the great dissat- 
isfaction which had prevailed among the American 
troops, and, with a profound sagacity, that distinguished 
his whole administration, took advantage of every op- 
portunity to direct this feeling into a channel favorable 
to the British cause, and to impress upon the minds of 
the half clothed and destitute troops, a high opinion of 
the generosity, kindness, and liberality of their oppo- 

Although the results of the two naval engagements 
of the llth and 13th, had been so disastrous, yet the 
Americans gained great credit for the obstinacy of their 
resistance. Even the English acknowledged that no 
man ever manoeuvred with more dexterity, fought with 
more bravery or retreated with more firmness, than 
Arnold did on both of these occasions. Such gallantry 
converted the disasters of defeat into a species of tri- 
umph. Several American officers, however, were found 
ready to censure Arnold, whom they called " our evil 
genius to the north,* but General Gates, who under- 
stood perfectly all the details of the affair, always 
speaks of him in the highest terms of praise. " It would 
have been happy for the United States," he writes to Gov- 
ernor Trumbull, " had the gallant behavior and steady 
good conduct of that excellent officer been supported by 
a fleet in any way equal to the enemy's. As the case 
stands, though they boast a victory, they must respect 
the vanquished." 

On the 14th of October, the works at Crown Point 
were destroyed and the troops and military stores re- 
moved to Ticonderoga. As soon as the Americans left, 
Carleton landed his army, and occupied the shores on 
both sides of the lake. It had been his intention to 
march immediately against Ticonderoga, but, on the 
15th, the wind commenced blowing so hard from the 
south that, for eight days, the English vessels could not 
sail up the lake. This dela}' was of great importance 
to the Americans, as it afforded them time to receive 
reinforcements of militia, and to prepare for a vigorous 
* General Maxwell to Governor Livingston. 



defense. In that short interval they made carriages 
for, and mounted forty-seven pieces of cannon ; they 
also surrounded the works with a strong abattis. Gen- 
eral Gates had about twelve thousand men under his 
command, all of whom were now full of activity and 
vigilance, and desirous of an opportunity to display 
their prowess before the enemy. 

General Carleton, finding he could not advance im- 
mediately, proceeded to establish himself at Crown 
Point, and to repair the fort at that place. He also oc- 
cupied Chimney Point with a portion of his army, and 
placed three of his largest vessels at anchor near Put- 
nam's point, a little below which the Light Infantry, 
Grenadiers, and a body of Canadians, and Indians were 
encamped. Reconnoitering parties filled the woods in 
every direction, and frequently penetrated as far south 
as Lake George, where one or two slight skirmishes 
occurred with struggling parties of the militia, who 
were passing from Fort George to Ticonderoga. Boats 
were also sent to sound the channel of the lake above 
Crown Point. On one occasion, one of these boats ap- 
proached within shot of the lower battery of Ticonde- 
oga, when it was fired into, and two men killed and one 

On Monday the 27th of October, between eight and 
nine o'clock in the morning, the advance guard-boat, 
lying below Ticonderoga, made signal that the English 
fleet was approaching, and about an hour afterwards, 
five of the largest transport boats appeared in sight of 
the fort, and landed a number of troops upon Three 
Mile Point. Soon afterwards, two armed boats stood 
over to the east side of the lake and appeared to be re- 
connoitering. As soon as they approached near enough, 
they were fired upon from the lower battery, and from 
a row-galley stationed in the river near by, when they 
retired. In the mean time other British troops were 
landed. upon the point, and a body of men were sent 
across the lake into a small bay about four miles below 
the works. 

As these movements indicated an attack upon Ti 


conderoga, General Gates ordered the lines and re- 
doubts to be manned, and brought three regiments from 
Mt. Independence to reinforce those on the western 
side. " Nothing," says General Gates, " could exceed 
the spirit and alertness which was shown by all the 
officers and soldiers in executing every order that was 
given." The display made on this occasion convinced 
Carleton that Gates' means of defence were sufficient to 
resist an assault. At four o'clock in the afternoon, he 
withdrew his forces and returned to Crown Point, 
where he made immediate preparations to retire into 
winter quarters, in Canada. The rear-guard of the 
English army left Crown Point on the morning of the 
3d of November, and the place was, the same day, oc- 
cupied by a detachment sent forward from Ticonderoga. 
As soon as it was ascertained that the English had 
retired to Canada, Gates dismissed the Militia and soon 
afterwards left with the greater part of the regular 
troops to join Washington, who was then in New 



1777 1783. Burgoyne invades the United States Evacuation of 
Ticouderoga by General St. Clair Battle of Hubbardton Surprise 
and Indignation of the People Vindication of St. Clair and Schuy- 
ler Lincoln's Expedition against Ticonderoga Surrender of Bur- 
goyne 'Retreat to Canada Operations on Lake Champlain from 
1778 to 1783. 

THE British Ministry still adhered to the scheme of 
opening a communication between Canada and the City 
of New York, by way of Lake Champlain. This project 
had acquired new favor at the English Court from the 
representations and sanguine promises of General Bur- 
goyne, who had visited England in the winter of 1776- 
7, and urged upon the government its importance, and 
the certainty of its success. Dissatisfied, without just 
cause, with the proceedings of Governor Carleton, the 
Ministry formed their arrangements for the new cam- 
paign, without Ms counsel or advice, and assigned to 
General Burgoyne the command of the army in Canada, 
and the direction of all its operations. 

The regular force allotted to Burgoyne numbered 
seven thousand one hundred and thirteen men, among 
whom were three thousand two hundred and seventeen 
Brunswick troops, commonly known as Hessians. A 
large and complete train of brass artillery was sent to 
Canada, together with a full supply of arms, ammuni- 
tion and military accoutrements of every description. 
Major-general Phillips and Brigadier-generals Fraser, 
Powell and Hamilton served under Burgoyne. The 
Brunswick troops were commanded by Major-general 
Reidesel, and Brigadier General Specht. 

Burgoyne arrived at Quebec in the month of May, 
1777, and immediately commenced preparations for the 
prosecution of the campaign. Two thousand Canadians 
were employed upon the fortifications at Sorel, Chambly, 


St. Johns and Isle Aux Noix, and boats were construct- 
ed in great numbers, on the Richelieu, for the convey- 
ance of the troops and supplies through the lake. 

To favor the operations of the army, Colonel. St. Leger 
was sent against the American posts on the Mohawk 
River, with a force of about eight hundred men, and a 
large body of Indians under Sir John Johnson. St. 
Leger was to proceed by the way of Oswego, and, 
having reduced the posts on that route, was to rejoin 
the main army at Albany. 

Early in the month of June, the army left St. Johns, 
in boats, and after several delays occasioned by con- 
trary winds, reached Cumberland Head, where it 
halted to await the arrival of the ammunition and 
stores. The naval part of the expedition was under 
the command of Captain Lutwidge, and consisted of 
the armed vessels built during the preceding year. 
Seven hundred carts were brought on with the army, 
to be used in transporting baggage and provisions 
across the portages between the lakes and the Hudson 
River, and fifteen hundred Canadian horses were sent 
by land up the west side of the lake, under a strong 

As soon as the supplies arrived, Burgoyne left Cum- 
berland Head and advanced as far as the Bouquet 
River, where he again halted. He was there joined by 
four hundred Iroquois, Algonquin, Abenaouis and 
Ottawa Indians, to whom he gave a war-feast on the 
21st of June, at their encampment near the falls of the 
Bouquet. On this occasion he made a speech to the 
assembled Indians, in which he humanely endeavored 
to soften their ferocity and restrain their thirst for 
blood. He spoke of the abused clemency of the King 
towards the colonies, and explained to them that the 
present war was carried on against a country, where 
the faithful were intermixed with rebels, and traitors 
with friends. He released them from restraint, but 
cautioned them not to violate the rules of civilized war- 
fare or disregard the dictates of religion and humanity. 
" Be it our task," he said, " from the dictates of our 


religion, the laws of our warfare, and the principles and 
interest of our policy, to regulate your passions when 
you overbear, to point out where it is nobler to spare 
than to revenge, to discriminate degrees of guilt, to sus- 
pend the uplifted stroke, to chastise, and not destroy." 
He then called their attention to the rules which they 
should observe during the campaign. " I positively 
forbid bloodshed where you are not opposed in arms. 
Aged men and women, children, and prisoners must be 
held sacred from the knife or hatchet, even in the time 
of actual conflict. You shall receive compensation for 
the prisoners you take, but you shall be called to ac- 
count for scalps." The Indians pledged obedience to 
his orders, and Burgoyne had the credulity to believe 
them. Little did he understand the unappeasable ap- 
petite for blood, of those by whom these fine promises 
were made. 

While the English were slowly approaching Ticonde- 
roga, the Americans were busily engaged in strengthen- 
ing its defenses. The northern department, including 
Albany, Ticonderoga, Fort Stanwix and their depend- 
encies, was now under the charge of Major-General 
Schuyler, while the immediate command of the works on 
Lake Champlain was confided to Major-general St. 
Clair, an officer of great military experience and 
reputation.* Both generals were advised of the plans 
of the British government for the present campaign, 
and used every exertion to prevent its success. The 
old French lines, to the west of the fort, had been re- 
paired and were guarded by a strong block-house ; an 

*Arthur St. Clair, was born in Scotland in 1734, and was a grandson 
of the Earl of Roslyn. He entered the army as an ensign and served 
under Araherst at Louisburg and under Wolfe at Quebec. He resign- 
ed in 1762, and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1776 he was created a 
Colonel in the Continental Army and in August a Brigadier-general, 
and was in the battle of Trenton and Princeton; was made a Major- 
general in 1777. After the Evaculion of Ticonderoga he was tried 
by court-martiiil and acquitted. He was with the army at the sur- 
render of Cornwallis. Was elected to Congress in 1786 and became 
President of that body in 1787. In 1789 he was made the first Gov- 
ernor of the Northwest Territory and held that position until 1802. 
He died near Greensburgh, Pa,, August 31, 1818. 


outpost was established at the saw-mills, on the falls of 
the outlet, and another just above that point, and a 
block-house and hospital were erected at the foot of 
Lake George. Redoubts and batteries were established 
upon the low lands, below the fort, and the extreme 
left was protected by a small fort on Mount Hope, an 
eminence about half a mile in advance of the old French 

A star-fort, in the centre of which was a convenient 
square of barracks, had been built on the summit of 
Mount Independence, which was well supplied with 
artillery, strongly picketed, and its approaches guarded 
with batteries. The foot of the hill, towards the lake, 
was protected by a breast-work which had been strength- 
ened by an abattis and a strong battery standing on 
the shore of the lake near the mouth of East Creek. 
A floating bridge connected the works of Mount 
Independence and Ticonderoga, and served as an ob- 
struction to the passage of vessels up the lake. This 
bridge was supported on twenty-two sunken piers 
formed of very large timber ; the spaces between the 
piers were filled with floats, each about fifty feet long 
and twelve feet wide, strongly fastened together with 
iron chains and rivets. A boom made of large pieces of 
timber, well secured together by riveted bolts, was 
placed on the north side of the bridge, and by the 
side of this was a double iron chain, the links of which 
were one and a half inches square. 

Opposite Mount Independence is the lofty eminence 
of Mount Defiance, which rises abruptly from the water 
to the height of about seven hundred and fifty feet, and 
is separated from Ticonderoga by the mouth of the 
outlet of Lake George. The American works formed an 
extensive crescent, of which this eminence was the centre. 
The entire line required at least ten thousand men, and 
one hundred pieces of artillery, for its defence. At the 
time of Burgoyne's approach, St. Glair's whole force 
did not exceed two thousand five hundred and fifty-six 
continental troops and nine hundred militia; the latter 
badly equipped, worse armed, and most of them raw and 


undisciplined. They, however, were zealous and deter- 
mined, and were ready to oppose any force that might be 
brought against them. 

The works about Ticonderoga were, by many, consid- 
ered impregnable ; but in fact they were weak and unten- 
able, for every position, whether at the old French lines, 
at the fort or on Mount Independence, was commanded 
by the summit of Mount Defiance, which had hitherto 
been neglected by the engineers of all parties. In 1776, 
Colonel John Trumbull, Adjutant-general under Gates, 
made several experiments which proved the controlling 
position of the eminence, and he afterwards, in company 
with General Arnold, Colonel Wayne, and others as- 
cended its rocky sides. "The ascent," says Trumbull, 
"was difficult and laborious, but not impracticable, and 
when we looked down upon the outlet of Lake George 
it was obvious to all that there could be no difficulty in 
driving up a loaded carriage." 

While Ticonderoga was thus poorly garrisoned and its 
defences exposed, Burgoyne was moving against it at 
the head of a well disciplined army, numbering seven 
thousand nine hundred men. On the 30th of June, the 
whole force reached Crown Point, where the English 
General halted to issue a proclamation, by which he ex- 
pected to intimidate the Patriots and to strengthen the 
hopes of the disaffected. In this paper he extolled the 
strength and number of the British forces, and portrayed 
in vivid language,the horrors which would result from an 
opposition to their arms. He offered encouragement and 
employment to those who should assist the King in- 
redeeming the colonies, and restoring to them the bless- 
ings of British liberty," while against those who should 
disregard his offers of mercy and forgiveness, he threat- 
ened the merciless vengeance of the whole Indian force 
under his command. Of the Patriots, he says, " The mes- 
sengers of justice and of wrath await them in the field ; 
and devastation and famine and every concomitant 
horror, that are luctant but indispensable prosecution 
of military duty must occasion, will bar the way to their 
return." These thundering anathemas were received, in 


every quarter, with derision and ridicule. Their only ef- 
fect was to call forth a reply, written by a young officer 
which created much amusement in the ranks of the 
American army, by its admirable imitation of the pom- 
pous style of the proclamation. 

Burgoy ne's army moved from Crown Point on the 
1st of July, in three divisions ; the Germans under Reide- 
sel, taking position on the east shore of the lake, at 
Richardson's opposite Putnam Creek ; the right wing 
under Fraser, advanced as far as Three Mile Creek, and 
the centre commanded by Burgoyne in person, moved up 
the lake in transports, accompanied by the ships Royal 
George and Inflexible, and anchored in a position just 
out of reach of the American guns. The following day, 
a party of Indians approached the outposts at Lake 
George and were soon followed by a large detachment 
under Major-general Phillips. On the approach of this 
column, the Americans evacuated and burned the block- 
houses, and, abandoning the saw-mills, retired within 
the lines. In the course of the night, General Phillips, 
took possession of Mount Hope, which, the next morn- 
ing was occupied in force by Eraser's corps, consisting of 
the First British brigade and two brigades of Artillery. 
Phillips now held the ground west of Mount Hope, and 
Fraser's camp, at Three Mile Creek, was occupied by 
a body of men drawn from the opposite side of the lake. 
The column under Reidesel, was pushed forward as far 
as East Creek, from which it could easily stretch behind 
Mount Independence. 

During all these movements, the American troops 
kept up a warm fire against Mount Hope, and against 
Reidesel's column, but without effect. On the 4th, the 
British were employed in bringing up their artillery, 
tents, baggage and provisions, while the Americans, at 
intervals, continued the cannonade. The same evening 
the radeau Thunderer arrived from Crown Point, with 
the battering train. 

The British line now encircled the American works 
on the north, east and west. The possession of Mount 
Defiance would complete the investment, and effectu- 


ally control the water communication in the direc- 
tion of Skenesborough. Burgoyne's attention had, 
from the first, been attracted towards this eminence, 
and lie had directed Lieutenant Twiss, his chief en- 
gineer, to ascertain whether its summit was accessible. 
On the 4th, Lieutenant Twiss reported that Mount 
Defiance held the entire command of Ticonderoga and 
Mt. Independence, at the distance of about fourteen 
hundred yards from the former, and fifteen hundred 
yards from the latter, and that a practicable road could 
be made to the summit in twenty-four hours. On re- 
ceiving this report, Burgoyne ordered the road opened 
and a battery constructed for light twenty-four pound- 
ers, medium twelves and eight-inch howitzers. This 
arduous task was pushed with such activity, that, dur- 
ing the succeeding night, the road was completed, and 
eight pieces of cannon were dragged to the top of the 

On the morning of the 5th, the summit of Mount 
Defiance glowed with scarlet uniforms, and the guns of 
its batteries stood threateningly over the American 
forts. " It is with astonishment," says Doctor Thacher, 
in his Military Journal, "that we find the enemy have 
taken possession of an eminence called Sugar-Loaf Hill 
or Mount Defiance, which, from its height and proxim- 
ity, completely overlooks and commands all our works. 
The situation of our garrison is viewed as critical and 
alarming ; a few days will decide our fate. We have 
reason to apprehend the most fatal effects from their 
battery on Sugar-Loaf Hill." General St. Clair im- 
mediately called a council of war, by whom it was 
decided to evacuate the works, before Reidesel should 
block up the narrow passage south of East Creek, which, 
with the lake to Skenesborough, presented the only 
possible way of escape. 

The decision of the council was concealed from the 
troops until the evening order was given. Abouttwelve 
o'clock at night, directions were issued to place the sick 
and wounded and the women on board two hundred 
long-boats, which had been collected for this purpose. 


The boats were then loaded deep with cannon, tents 
and provisions, and, at three o'clock in the morning, 
started for Skenesborough, accompanied by five armed 
galleys and a guard of six hundred men, under com- 
mand of Colonel Long of the New Hampshire troops. 
The boats reached Skenesborough about three o'clock 
on the afternoon of the same day, where the fugitives 
landed to enjoy, as they fancied, a temporary repose, 
but in less than two hours, they were startled by the 
reports of the cannon of the British gun-boats, which 
were firing at the galleys lying at the wharf. By un- 
common effort and industry, Burgoyne had broken 
through the chain, boom, and bridge at Ticonderoga, 
and had followed in pursuit with the Royal George 
and Inflexible, and a detachment of the gun-boats un- 
der Captain Carter. The pursuit had been pressed 
with such vigor that, at the very moment when the 
Americans were landing at Skenesborough, three regi- 
ments disembarked at the head of South Bay, with the 
intention of Occupying the road to Fort Edward. Had 
Burgoyne delayed the attack upon the galleys until 
these regiments had reached the Fort Edward road, the 
whole party at Skenesborough would have been taken 
prisoners. Alarmed, however, by the approach of the 
gun-boats, the latter blew up three of the galleys, set 
fire to the fort, mill, and store-house and retired in 
great confusion towards Fort Ann. Occasionally the 
overburdened party would falter on their retreat, when 
the startling cry of " march on, the Indians are at our 
heels," would revive their drooping energies and give 
new strength to their weakened limbs. At five o'clock 
in the morning they reached Fort Ann, where they 
were joined by many of the invalids, who had been 
carried up Wood Creek in boats. A number of the 
sick, with the cannon, provisions, and most of the bag- 
gage were left behind at Skenesborough. 

On the 7th, a small reinforcement sent from Fort 
Edward, by Schuyler, arrived at Fort Ann. About 
the same time, a detachment of British troops ap- 
proached within the sight of the fort. This detachment 


was attacked from the fort, and repulsed with some 
loss ; a surgeon, a wounded captain and twelve pri- 
vates were taken prisoners by the Americans. The 
next day Fort Ann was burned, and the garrison re- 
treated to Fort Edward, which was then occupied by 
General Schuyler. 

As soon as Colonel Long had started for Skenes- 
borough, St. Clair with the main army retired by land, 
towards Castleton. The garrison of Ticonderoga crossed 
the bridge, about three o'clock in the morning, and, at 
four o'clock, the rear guard, under Colonel Francis, 
left Mount Independence. Up to this time a continued 
connonade from one of the batteries was kept up, 
in the direction of Mount Hope, in order to allay any 
suspicions of the movement, on the part of the enemy. 
The whole army would have departed unobserved, had 
not General De Fermoy, who commanded on Mount 
Independence, foolishly and regardless of express or- 
ders, set fire to the house he had occupied. The light 
of this conflagration revealed the whole scene to the 
British, and, at the same time, threw the Americans 
into great disorder ; many of them now pushing for- 
ward without any regard to discipline or regularity. At 
Hubbardton the stragglers were collected, and the 
ranks again organized. After a halt of two hours at 
this place, the main army proceeded toward Castleton, 
leaving Colonels Francis, Warner, and Hale behind 
with a rear-guard of about thirteen hundred men. 

As soon as the retreat from Ticonderoga was dis- 
covered by the British, General Fraser started in pur- 
suit with his brigade, and was soon followed by Rei- 
desel. The British troops continued the pursuit during 
the day, and, at night, lay on their arms near the posi- 
tion occupied by the American rear-guard, at Hub- 
bardton. Early on the following morning, Fraser, 
with eight hundred men, advanced to the attack, with- 
out waiting for the arrival of Reidesel, who was ap- 
proaching with his column. The attack was resisted 
by seven hundred under the command of Colonels 
Francis and Warner. Colonel Hale, who had charge 


of a body of invalids belonging to different regiments, 
continued his retreat towards Castleton. Hale's con- 
duct on this occasion was severely censured by many, 
but not more so than was St. Clair for the abandon- 
ment of Ticonderoga. Colonel Hale's retreat and his 
subsequent surrender appear to have been influenced by 
the dictates of humanity, for his men were in no con- 
dition to enter into the fight. He unfortunately died 
before he had an opportunity to justify his conduct. 

The battle between the two parties was severe and 
bloody, and at one time the British Grenadiers recoiled 
before the galling fire of Francis' and Warner's men, 
but Reidesel coming up at that moment, the Grena- 
diers rallied, and, sustained by the whole Britih sline, re- 
turned to the charge with fixed bayonets. The Ameri- 
can troops now broke and fled in every direction. In 
this action the Americans lost three hundred and 
twenty-four men, in killed, wounded and prisoners. 
Among the killed was the gallant Qolonel Francis, 
who fell at the head of his regiment. On the part of 
the English, the loss was one hundred and eighty-three, 
including Major Pratt and about twenty inferior offi- 
cers. Hale was intercepted on the road to Castleton, 
and surrendered. St. Clair, as soon as he had been 
joined by the remnant of Warner's men, retreated to 
Fort Edward, where he arrived on the 12th of July. 

The loss to the Americans, by the evacuation of 
Ticonderoga, was very great ; no less than one hun- 
dred and twenty-eight pieces of cannon, together with 
all the boats, provisions, stores, and magazines were 
either destroyed or fell into the hands of the British. 
Among the trophies of the day was the Continental 
Standard, which the Americans had neglected to take 
with them on their retreat. 

The evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Indepen- 
dence was condemned throughout the country. The 
people were surprised and alarmed. They were not 
prepared for so disastrous an event, for it was generally 
believed that the works on Lake Champlain were in a 
condition to resist any attack of the enemy. Both 


Schuyler and St. Clair were severely and unjustly cen- 
sured ; the former for not sending on reinforcements, 
when he had none to send, and the latter for omitting 
to fortify Mount Hope and Mount Defiance, when his 
whole force was insufficient to man the defenses of the 
forts themselves. That a great error was committed, 
in relying too much upon the supposed strength of the 
positions at Ticonderoga, cannot be denied ; but there 
were no just grounds for attaching blame to either of 
the officers in command. 

The attention of the Government had been directed 
to the exposed situation of this post, and St. Clair had 
repeatedly called for more troops for its defence. As 
late as the 25th of June, he addressed a letter to Gen- 
eral Schuyler, in which he vividly portrayed Ins want 
of men, and his fears that he might not be able to resist 
Burgoyne, who was known to be approaching with a 
large force. In that letter, he says :. " I cannot help 
repeating to you the disagreeable situation we are in, 
nor can I see the least prospect of our being able to de- 
fend the post, unless the militia come in ; and should 
the enemy protract their operations, or invest us and 
content themselves with a single blockade, we are infal- 
libly ruined." 

On the 28th of June, General Schuyler writes to 
General Washington, at the same time enclosing St. 
Glair's letter of the 25th, and says, " Should an acci- 
dent happen to the garrison of Ticonderoga, and Gen- 
eral Burgoyne makes a push to gain the south part of 
the lake, I know of no obstacle to prevent him : com- 
paratively speaking, I have not a man to oppose him ; 
the whole number at the different posts at and on this 
side of the lake, including the garrisons of Fort George 
and Skenesborough, not exceeding seven hundred men, 
and these I cannot draw away from their several sta- 
tions, in every one of which they are already too weak." 

These letters show the real state of the frontier at 
the time. Burgoyne was approaching with an army of 
over seven thousand veterans, besides Canadians and 
Indians, while St. Clair had three thousand four him- 


dred men to defend a circle of works which could not 
ba properly manned with less than ten thousand, and 
Schuyler had not troops enough with him to defend the 
posts in the rear. It has been said that, considering his 
want of men, St. Clair should have evacuated the 
works before the approach of the British army. Such 
a course would have received as great censure as did 
the retreat. It would have been considered inexcus- 
able. Besides the question, whether all or even a part 
of these works should be abandoned, had already been 
presented to the consideration of the Provincial Con- 
gress of New York, and that body, on the 6th of May 
preceding, had passed a resolution declaring that, in 
their opinion, the abandoning of any part of the works 
of Ticonderoga, would be productive of great evils. A 
copy of this resolution was at the time forwarded to 
General Gates, who replied that he saw no reason for 
abandoning any part of the post at Ticonderoga, and 
that he had good ground to hope there would never be 
any necessity of evacuating or surrendering any portior 
of the position, if the body of the eastern troops arrive 
in any reasonable time. 

When Burgoyne placed his batteries upon the sum- 
mit of Mount Defiance, he effectually destroyed all 
hopes of resistance, on the part of the Americans. The 
only alternative was to surrender or evacuate the works. 
By adopting the latter course, St. Clair saved the greater 
portion of his garrison, and preserved the nucleus of 
an army, which ultimately baffled Burgoyne, and com- 
pelled him to surrender. At the moment, however, all 
classes of people were astonished at the unexpected 
result. It is " an event of chagrin and surprise," says 
Washington, " not apprehended nor within the compass 
of my reasoning." The Council of Safety of New York 
stigmatized it as a measure " highly reprehensible," and 
" probably criminal."* Among the people, the most 

* " The evacuation of Tionderoga appears to the council highly re- 
prehensible, and it gives them great pain to find that a measure so 
absurd and probably criminal should be imputed to the direction of 
General Schuyler, in whose zeal, vigilance and integrity the council 


violent charges were made against both St. Clair and 
Schuyler. It was even asserted they had both been 
bribed by Burgoyne, who, it was said, had fired silver 
bullets into the fort, which were gathered by order of 
St. Clair, and divided between him and Schuyler. 

This report would seem too ridiculous to gain credit 
with any one, and yet we have the authority of Wilkin- 
son, who was Adjutant-general to Gates, that respect- 
able men questioned him, with much gravity, as to its 
truth.* Time softened the disappointment of the 
people, and when the true condition of the case was 
known, both officers were fully reinstated in the confi- 
dence of the nation. 

When St. Clair joined Schuyler at Fort Edward, 
their whole force, including recent arrivals, did not ex- 
ceed four thousand four hundred men, who were im- 
mediately employed in obstructing the roads leading to 
Lake Champlain, and in placing impediments to the 
navigation of -Wood Creek. So thoroughly was this 
work accomplished that, when Burgoyne afterwards 
_,d his army on this route, he was often unuble to 
advance more than one mile in twenty-four hours. 
Schuyler remained at Fort Edward until the latter 
part of the month of July, when he fell back as far as 
Saratoga, and subsequently retired to Stillwater. While 
at Foit Edward, he removed the provisions, stores, boats 
and arms from Fort George, and on the 17th of July, 
destroyed the fort itself. 

We left Burgoyne at Skenesborough anctFraser and 
Reidesel at Hubbardton, on the 7th of July. After the 
retreat of St. Clair towards Fort Edward, these two 
columns occupied the ground between Castleton and 
Skenesborough ; the English right wing occupying the 
heights at Skenesborough, in two lines, the right flank 

repose the highest confidence" Letter to Major-general Putnam, 
July 11, 1777. To this letter from the Council of Safety General Put- 
nam replied, " I am greatly astonished at the evacuation of Ticon- 
deroga in the manner it is represented : Think there is great fault 

* See also Doctor Thacher's Military Journal, where he gravely 
denies the truth of the absurd report. 


to the mountain and the left to Wood Creek ; the Ger- 
man troops were stationed at Castleton, with detach- 
ments on the roads leading to Rutland and Poultney ; 
the centre was occupied by Eraser's corps. A third 
column of the English army, under General Phillips, 
was engaged in getting the gun-boats, transports and 
provisions, over the falls of the outlet, into Lake 
George. This was accomplished after great labor and 
fatigue. Phillips then advanced as far as Fort George, 
where he established a depot and erected magazines for 
the army. 

While Burgoyne was at Skenesborough, he issued a 
proclamation addressed to the inhabitants on the New 
Hampshire Grants, in which he directed them under 
pain of military execution, to send deputations, consist- 
ing of ten persons or more from each township, to meet 
Colonel Skene at Castleton, " who," adds the proclama- 
tion, " will have instructions not only to give further 
encouragement to those who complied with the terms 
of my late manifesto, but also to communicate condi- 
tions upon which the persons arid property of the dis- 
obedient may yet be spared." As soon as General 
Schuyler saw this proclamation, he issued an order that 
every person, who had taken or might take a protection 
from Burgoyne, should be secured and sent to jail ; at 
the same time he gave notice, by a counter proclama- 
tion, that all who should join with, or in any manner 
assist or hold correspondence with the English, should 
be considered and dealt with as traitors. 

Burgoyne had placed great reliance upon the discon- 
tent of the inhabitants on the New Hampshire Grants, 
and supposed that large numbers, if not the whole pop- 
ulation, would join his army. But in this he was most 
sorely disappointed, for, not more than four hundred 
royalists or disaffected joined him, and at least half of 
these he represented as " trimmers, merely actuated by 
interest," in whom he could place no dependence. He 
also declared, in a letter to Lord George Germain, that 
the New Hampshire Grants abounded in the most ac- 
tive and most rebellious race on the continent, who 



hung like a gathering storm upon his left. This opin- 
ion had not Been formed without good reasons, as we 
shall now see. 

When the column under General Phillips moved up 
Lake George, the posts at Tieonderoga and Mount In- 
dependence were left with a guard of nine hundred and 
ten men, composed of the 53d British regiment, four 
hundred and sixty-two strong, and a German regiment, 
numbering four hundred and forty-eight men, rank and 
file. About the time that Burgoyne had collected his 
troops at Fort Edward, General Lincoln, who com- 
manded a strong detachment of militia, stationed at 
Manchester, Vt., determined to make a diversion in the 
rear of the British line, in the hopes of recovering the 
Fort of Tieonderoga, and thus cutting off Burgoyne's 
communication with Canada. 

General Lincoln ordered Colonel Warner, with a de- 
tachment of the Massachusetts militia, to move in the 
direction of Mount Independence, in order to make a 
diversion, and an attack in that quarter, if the occasion 
should favor one. Another detachment was sent, 
under Colonel Woodbridge, against Skenesborough and 
Fort Ann, while Colonel Brown, with Herrick's regi- 
ment of Rangers, and some Militia and Volunteers, 
was to cross the lake at the narrows, pass through the 
woods and take the outposts of Tieonderoga, and the 
works at the landing of Lake George. These places 
were to be attacked at the same time. Captain Ebene- 
zer Allen, with his rangers, was to leave Brown and 
Herrick at a certain point and take Mount Defiance, 
and then rejoin them to attack Tieonderoga, in conjunc- 
tion with General Warner. The plan thus arranged, 
they set out for Pawlet for their different places of des- 
tination. Brown had to cross the lake in the night and 
to pass, for fourteen miles, over rugged mountains, 
which he accomplished, reaching the head of Lake 
George the day before the attack. Before it became 
dark, sentinels were placed at different points on Mount 
Defiance and in the direction of the other British posts, 
with directions, from time to time, to give " three hoots 


of an owl" as a signal, to guide the main party on their 
way, through the darkness of night. Colonel Brown 
took possession of Mount Hope and of a block-house 
near the old French lines. He also seized two hundred 
long-boate, an armed sloop, and several gun-boats, sta- 
tioned to defend the carrying-place, and captured two 
hundred and ninety-three soldiers, at the same time re- 
leasing one hundred American prisoners. 

But the most difficult task was the capture of the 
British works on the summit of Mount Defiance ; which 
could be reached only by a cut way well defended and 
guarded. Captain Allen and his men had, after great 
difficulty and labor, nearly reached the top of the 
mountain, when they found a cliff they could not climb 
in the ordinary way. Allen therefore ordered one of 
his men to stoop, and stepping on his back, clambered 
to the top, which was only large enough to hold eight 
men without their being discovered by the enemy. As 
soon as the men had reached the top, he ruslied upon 
the garrison, already alarmed by the firing ;it the land- 
ing, closely followed by his little party, who, says Allen, 
"came after me like a stream of hornets to the charge." 
The garrison immediately fled, with the exception of 
one man who attempted to fire a cannon at the assail- 
ants. " Kill the gunner," cried Allen, at the same 
time discharging his musket. At this the man ran 
away with the match in his hand, leaving the Ameri- 
cans in full possession of the works. The terrified sol- 
diers rushed down the cut way and were captured by 
Major Waite, who had been stationed on the bridge to 
intercept their retreat. The only resistance offered, 
during the night, was by Lieutenant Lord of the 53d 
regiment, who commanded at the block-house, and 
who did not yield until several pieces of ordinance, 
taken from the sloop, had been brought against it. 

Colonel Warner did not arrive near Mount Indepen- 
dence until early the next morning. " He moved so ex- 
tremely slow," says Ira Allen.* " that he saved his own 

History of Vermont London, 1798. 


men and hurt none of the enemy." When he came up, 
his force was united with Colonel Brown's and the fort- 
ress of Ticonderoga summoned, but Brigadier-general 
Powel, who commanded there, refused to surrender, 
declaring that he was resolved to defend himself to the 
last. Brown and Warner continued a cannonade 
against the fort for four days, when finding the guns 
made no impression upon the walls, they abandoned 
the siege and withdrew their forces to the lower Lake 
George. Here they embarked on the gun-boats which 
they had captured, and on the 24th sailed against and 
attacked Diamond Island. On this island a large 
quantit} 7 of public property had been stored, which was 
guarded by two companies of the 47th regiment, under 
Captain Aubrey. In this attack the Americans were 
repulsed with a small loss, and retreated to the east 
shore of the lake, pursued by several gnu-boats which 
were stationed at the island. As soon as the Ameri- 
cans landed, they burned their boats, crossed over the 
mountains to Lake Champlain and returned to Lincoln's 
camp at Pawlet* 

The fate of Burgoyne's army, after it left the lake, 
is well known. On the 30th of July, the three divisions 
were united at Fort Edward. On the 16th of August, 
Colonel Baum was defeated at Bennington, by a body 
of New England Militia, under General Stark. St. 
Leger raised the seige of Fort Stanwix on the 28th of 
that month, and passing through Canada and Lake 
Champlain, soon after joined Burgoyne, between whom 
and General Gates a battle had been fought at Still- 
water, on the 18th of September, in which the advant- 
ages were decidedly in favor of the latter. After the 
action Burgoyne retired as far as Saratoga, where 
another severe action was fought on the 7th of October. 
On the 17th of that month " articles of capitulation " 
were signed and five thousand seven hundred and 

* In this expedition the American recovered the Continental stand- 
ard which had been left behind when St. Glair's army evacuated 
the fort in July. 


ninety-one British and German troops were surrendered 
as prisoners of war.* 

As soon as the news of Burgoyne's surrender reached 
Ticonderoga, the troops stationed in that vicinity pre- 
pared for an immediate retreat to Canada. A few open 
boats now held what remained of the proud host, who 
three months before had ascended the lake with all the 
pomp and panoply of war. Then, their banners floated 
gayly in the breeze, and the clear notes of the bugle 
startled the echoes of the surrounding hills ; now, with 
watchful eyes they hurried silently along, and carefully 
avoided the shores, lest the thick and tangled forest 
might contain some bold and unseen foe. Nor were 
their fears without foundation ; for, as they passed the 
mouth of the Bouquet, they were suddenly attacked by 
a party of " Green Mountain Boys," led by Captain 
Ebenezer Allen, who cufcoff the rear division of boats 
and captured fifty men, besides a large quantity of bag- 
gage and military stores. 

Thus closed the military operations of the year on 
Lake Champlain. The works at Ticonderoga were not 
reoccupied by the Americans, nor was this section of 
country the scene of any important military movement 
during the remainder of the war. In the fall of 1777, 
Gates, who had been placed at the head of the Board 
of War, conceived the project of directing a descent 
upon Canada, in mid-winter, by the way of Lake 
Champlain, for the purpose of destroying the stores 
and shipping at St. Johns on the Richelieu. The con- 
duct of the expedition was entrusted to the Marquis de 
Lafayette, who repaired to Albany, full of high hopes 
and panting for an opportunity to distinguish himself 
in a separate command. But the project failed from the 

* After his exchange, which took place in 1781 or 1782, Burgoyne 
was commissioned as Colonel of the 4th or King's Own regiment of 
foot and soon afterward was appointed commander-in-chief of the 
forces in Ireland and was also one of the privy counsellors there. After 
resigning his position in Ireland he. was in constant attendance as a 
member of the House of Commons, and was one of the managers 
on the impeachment of Warrer Hastings. He died August 4, 1792, of 
gout and was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey. 


want of troops. Scarcely twelve hundred men could 
be mustered, and the greater part of these were half 
naked and unarmed. " The Generals only," says 
Marshall, " were got in readiness." Lafayette was 
much annoyed, but ihe obstacles were insuperable. 

In 1780, Sir John Johnson made a descent upon 
Johnstown, near the Mohawk, for the purpose of re- 
covering his silver plate, which he had secreted in the 
cellar of his house, at the time of his flight in 1776. 
Having accomplished this object, Johnson retired to 
Canada by the way of Lake Cham plain, taking with him 
about forty prisoners. He was pursued by Governor 
Clinton at the head of a body of militia, as far as 
Ticonderoga. Here Clinton was joined by a party of 
"Green Mountain Boys," but from a want of boats 
the pursuit was discontinued. In the fall of the same 
year, a party of two hundred ajid three Indians, led by 
seven tories and refugees, passed up the Winooski 
and attacked the flourishing settlement of Royalton, 
Vt., burning twenty-one houses and taking fourteen of 
the principal inhabitants prisoners. 

In October, Major Carleton was sent up the lake 
from St. Johns, with a fleet of eight large vessels and 
twenty-six long-boats, containing upwards of one 
thousand men, in order to create a diversion in favor of 
Sir John Johnson, who directed an attack upon the 
Schoharie and Mohawk county. On the 10th and 
llth, Major Carleton surprised Fort George and Fort 
Ann, and took the garrisons prisoners. In the two 
assaults the British lost four officers and twenty-three 
privates killed ; while the loss of the Americans, in 
killed and prisoners, was two captains, two lieuten- 
ants and one hundred nnd fourteen privates. Carleton 
remained at Ticonderoga until the first of November, 
when he returned with the boats and shipping to St. 

In the spring of 1781, the Iroquois Chief, Thayenda- 
negea, (Brant), meditated an expedition against the 
Oneidas, who had been driven for safety to a position 
about fifteen miles west of Saratoga. This enterprise 


received the sanction of Sir Frederick Haldimand, then 
Governor of Canada, who proposed to send a party of 
sixty loyalists under .Major Jessup, the commandant at 
Point Au Fer, towards Fort Edward, to co-operate 
with Brant's Indians, who were to rendezvous on 
Carleton* Island, in Lake Champlain. For some cause 
now unknown, the project was never executed. 

In the course of the summer, the British, upon 
several occasions, entered the lake with their whole 
fleet, but attempted nothing beyond landing at Crown 
Point and Ticonderoga. The mysterious and, at the 
time, inexplicable movements of the enemy, in this 
quarter, kept the northern frontier in a state of cease- 
less inquietude and alarm. The army about Albany 
was small and weak, and the American Generals were 
greatly perplexed at these strange mano3iivres of the 
fleet. Whenever it ascended the lake, an attack was 
expected in the direction of Fort Edward, but when, 
a few weeks afterwards, the fleet would withdraw with- 
out making any hostile demonstration, the idea pre- 
vailed that the movement was intended to create a 
diversion, while the actual blow was to be struck in 
another quarter. The mystery of these singular pro- 
ceedings was not fully explained until several years 
afterwards, when it became publicly known that the 
leaders of the people on the New Hampshire Grants 
had been, during the years 1780 and 1781, in frequent 
and secret correspondence with the authorities of Can- 
ada in relation to the political destiny of the Grants. 

It is not my purpose to enter into an investigation as 
to the character or effect of this correspondence. The 
subject properly belongs to the History of Vermont, 
and has already been ably reviewed by her historians. 
It is enough here to say, that on the part of the Brit- 
ish, the negotiation consisted of repeated endeavors to 
persuade the leaders on the Grants to abandon the 
American cause, and to declare the country a British 
Province, and on the other side^ of evasive and am- 

* This is a small island near the south end of Grant Isle. It is 
now called Stave Island. 


biguous answers, calculated to keep alive the hopes of 
the British authorities, but not intended to pledge the 
leaders or the people to any certain action. 

When the remnant of Burgoyne's army retreated to 
Canada in 1777, the British retained possession of Point 
Au Fer, which they occupied as a military post. They 
also held a small block-house on the west side of the 
island of North Hero. These places were not given up 
until some time after the close of the war. 

Batta Burgoyne's Narrative Thacher's Military Journal Thum 
bull's Reminiscences of his own Times Stone's Life of Joseph 
Brant Journal of the New York Provincial Congress Lossing's 
Field Book of the Revolution, etc., etc. 



From 1783 to 1800 Progress and extent of Settlements on the borders 
of Lake Champlain Personal Sketches Trade and Commerce of 
the Country Population, etc., etc. 

We have now traced the history of Lake Champlain, 
from its first exploration by the Europeans, in 1609, 
to the close of the war of the Revolution , a period of 
one hundred and seventy-five years. This history, thus 
far, has been little more than a narrative ot continued 
strife and contention. Champlain was guided to the 
lake by a war party of Indians, who were seeking their 
enemies upon the well known battle ground of that 
early day. He wrote the name of the lake upon its sands 
with the blood of the Iroquois, and proclaimed it, for 
the first time, amid the cries of tortured and dying 
prisoners. For many years afterwards the French and 
English colonists crimsoned its waters with each other's 
blood, and when, after a short interval of comparative 
quiet, the war of the Revolution broke forth, the tide 
of battle almost instinctively returned to its old chan- 
nel. It is not surprising that, under such circum- 
stances, but little progress had yet been made towards 
the settlement and improvement of the country. 

In 1783, the settlements near the lake were princi- 
pally confined to the few towns in Vermont opposite 
and south of Crown Point. In that year the whole 
population upon the borders of the lake, on both 
sides, did not exceed six hundred. 

For several years after the declaration of Peace, 
emigration to the north-eastern part of Vermont was 
retarded by the still pending dispute between the 
claimants under the New Hampshire Grants and the 
state of New York, in regard to land titles. This con- 
troversy had, however, lost much of its acrimony, and 
all parties were prepared for his final adjustment, which 
took place in 1790. On the 4th of March, 1791, 


Vermont was admitted into the Union as a separate and 
independent State. In this year the population of the 
lake towns was six thousand seven hundred and seven- 

In 1782, a party of royalists emigrated from St. 
Johns on the Richelieu, and commenced several im- 
provements in the town of Alburgh. Soon afterwards 
Ira Allen obtained a grant of the town, from the 
authorities of Vermont, and brought actions of eject- 
ment against the royalists, which however terminated 
in their favor. A claim to the township was after- 
wards advanced by Sir George Young, under color of 
a grant from the Duke of York, which was also suc- 
cessfully resisted by the settlers. 

Isle La Motte was settled in 1785, by Ebenezer Hyde, 
Enoch Hall and William Blanchard, and was organized 
as a town in 1790. In 1802, the name of the town was 
changed to Vineyard, which it retained until 1830, 
when the original name of Isle La Motte was again 
resumed. The islands of North Hero and Grand Isle 
were chartered as a town in 1779, but no settlement 
was commenced there until 1783. In March of that 
year Ebenezer Allen,* Alexander Gordon and Enos 
Wood visited the township for the purpose of locating 
their respective claims. Wood, who, by agreement 
between the parties was entitled to the first choice, 
located upon the south end of the north island ; Gordon 
took the north end of the south island, and Allen the 
south end. In August, .all three brought on their 
families and commenced permanent improvements. 
For the first few years the inhabitants of these islands, 
in common with those of the neighboring towns, suf- 
fered great inconvenience from the want of grist-mills, 

* Ebenezer Allen was a native of Massachusetts. At the age of 
twenty-four, he moved into Poultney, and in company with his 
brother-in-law, Thomas Ashley, commenced tlie first settlement in 
that town. lie was soon afterwards appointed Captain of a com- 
pany of Minute Men, and served in Colonel Herrick's regiment of 
Rangers during the Revolution. He led the attack against the 
British post on Mount Defiance in September, 1777. and afterwards 
captured about fifty of the rear-guard of Burgoyne's army on their 
retreat to Canada. 


the most accessible being at Whitehall and Granville, 
from eighty to one hundred miles distant. 

The town of Milton was first settled in 1783, Georgia 
in 1784, and St. Albans in 1785. In 1782 McClain, 
Low and Boardman moved on to Colchester Point, and 
in the same year Ira Allen returned to the lower falls 
of the Winooski, where he soon 'after erected mills, a 
forge and a shop for making anchors.* 

The first residents in the town of Burlington aban- 
doned their improvements at the time of Burgoyne's 
invasion in 1777, Stephen Lawrence, Frederick Saxton, 
Simeon Tubbs and John Collins moved into the town 
and renewed the settlement in 1783. The first town 
meeting was held in March, 1787, when Samuel Lane 
was chosen town clerk. In 1789 Stephen Keyes built 
a store in the village, which was opened in the fall of 
that year under the charge of Orange Smith. Another 
store was soon afterwards started by Zacheus Peaslee. 

In the year 1787, there were about twenty families 
in the town of Shelburne. Charlotte was first per- 
manently settled in 1784, by Derick Webb and Elijah 
Woolcut. John McNeil soon afterwards moved into 
the town. He was elected its first town clerk and 
representative. In 1790 he removed to the lake shore 
and -established a ferry between that place and the 
town of Willsborough (now Essex), N. Y. Ferrisburgh 
was settled, after the war, by Abel Thompson, Gideon 
Hawley, Timothy Rogers, and others. In 1783 Amos 
Spafford, Shadrack Hathway, Eben Murray and 
Ephraim and Win. Fisher and John Charter com- 
menced a settlement at Mt. Independence, in the town 
of Orwell, and the next year Pliny Smith and others 
moved into the town with their families. The same 
year, Barber, Durfee and Noble moved into the town 
of Benson.* 

* Ira Allen was the first Secretary of Vermont. Subsequently he 
was State Treasurer, Member of the Council, and Surveyor-General. 
He rose to the rank of Major-General of Militia, and, ir. 1795, was 
sent to Europe to purchase a supply of arms for the State. 

t For further information, in regard to the first settlement of Ver- 
mont, see Zadock Thompson's Gazetteer of Vermont a most able 
and elaborate work. 


Let us now cross to the western or New York side 
of the lake. In 1784 the County of Washington was 
organized, and originally included all the territory lying 
west of and adjoining the lake. In 1788 that portion, 
contained in the present counties of Clinton, Essex 
and Franklin, was taken from Washington and formed 
into a new county, which was called Clinton. Essex 
was taken from Clinton in 1799, and Franklin in 1808. 
The town of Plattsburgh was organized us a part of 
Washington County in 1785, and included all the 
territory within the limits of the present towns of Beek- 
mantown, Saranac, Schuyler's Falls, and also portions 
of Old Peru and Old Chateaugay. It was the only 
town on the west side of the lake until 1788, when 
Champlain, Willsborough and Crown Point were 
organized. Willsborough originally included the 
present towns of Chesterfield, Essex, Lewis and a 
part of Old Peru. Crown Point embraced all the 
territory lying between Willsborough and Lake George. 

When Burgoyne entered the United States, all the 
persons residing on the west side of the lake abandoned 
their habitations, and either joined the American army, 
or retired to the neighborhood of Albany. They re- 
turned immediately after the Peace, and were soon 
followed by others ; but the progress of the settlement 
of the county was very slow for the first ten years. In 
1790 the population of Clinton County, which then 
embraced the whole territory west of the lake, was to 
be found in the vicinity of the Saranac and the Bouquet 
rivers, and did not then exceed sixteen hundred and 

Prior to the revolution William Gilliland had com- 
menced a settlement at the falls of the Bouquet river, 
from which he was taken and sent to Albany by order 
of General Gates, in 1776. After the war he returned, 
accompanied or soon followed by Aaron Fairchild, 
Jonathan Lynde, Joseph Sheldon, Abram Aiken, Mar- 
tin Pope, Melchor and John Hoffnagle, John More- 
house and others, who in 1784 settled at or near the 
mouth of the Bouquet. In 1783 Jacque Rous emigrated 


from Canada and settled at Rouses Point. John La 
Frombois and Francis La Monte returned to their 
farms on the lake shore in Chazy, in 1784. Prisque 
Ashline lived on the Corbeau river in 1786, and Pliny 
Moore in Champlain in 1785. In 1787 Robert Cochran 
and Nathaniel Mallory resided on the lake shore, near 
the mouths of the Ausable rivers; Moses Dickson, 
Jabez Allen and Lot and John Elmore on the rich lands 
lying between those rivers, and Edward Everett and 
John Stanton in what is now called the " Union," in the 
town of Peru. In August, 1783, Benjamin Mooers 
commenced the first permanent settlement within the 
limits of the present town of Beekmantown. Mr. 
Mooers was a native of Haverhill, Massachusetts. At 
the age of eighteen he entered the army as a volunteer, 
and in 1777 was appointed Ensign in Hazen's regiment, 
and was afterwards promoted to the rank of Lieutenant 
and Adjutant. On the 26th of July, 1783, Mr. Mooers 
left Poughkeepsie in a bateau, accompanied by Francis 
Monty and son, Zacheus Peaslee, Pierre Boilan, Charles 
Cloutier, Antoine Lavan, Joseph Latournau, Antoine 
Lasambert, P. Aboir and John Fessie. The party ar- 
rived at Albany on the 29th, where Mr. Mooers was 
joined by John La Frombois, who was returning to his 
farm on the lake shore in Chazy. On the 31st they 
left Albany and proceeded up the Hudson about five 
miles, where the boat was partially unloaded and taken 
over the rapids to Still water. On the 2d August they 
reached Fort Miller, and at noon of the 3d arrived at 
Fort Edward. The baggage and boat were drawn 
across the country to Fort George, where the party 
procured another boat, and the same evening sailed 
nine miles down the lake and encamped on a small 
island near its eastern shore. The next day they 
reached the lower end of Lake George, and on the 6th 
drew the boats around the falls at Ticonderoga into 
Lake Champlain, and sailed down the lake with a fair 
wind, passing Crown Point about sundown. On the 8th 
the party landed on Valcour Island, where they were 
delayed by head winds until Sunday morning, the 10th 


of August, when they set sail, and the same day ar- 
rived at Point Au Roche. The next day, the whole 
party, except La Frombois, who had gone on to visit 
his old place a few miles below, commenced work, and 
in ten days completed a log house and cleared a small 
patch of land for turnips. One of the first labor of the 
new settlers, after building the house, was to cut a 
quantity of grass for the support of the oxen during 
the winter. This grass grew wild in many places upon 
the low lands near the shore of the lake and for several 
years was the only fodder used in the country. By the 
llth September Mr. Mooers had cleared up a small 
field near his house, which he sowed to wheat and 

He subsequently removed to Plattsburgh, where he 
resided until his death in February, 1838, in the 80th 
year of his age. He was the first Sheriff of Clinton 
County, was four times elected Member of the Assem- 
bly and once of the State Senate, and was County 
Treasurer for forty-eight years. During the war of 
1812 he held the office of Major-general of Militia and 
co-operated with and materially aided the United 
States military officers in the defense of the north- 
eastern frontier of the State. 

In 1781, the Legislature of the State of New York, 
in order to encourage the raising of troops for the 
defence of the State, passed certain acts offering 
bounties of unappropriated lands to such officers and 
soldiers as should enlist within a specified time. These 
bounties were divided into rights of five hundred 
acres each, and there was a provision in the act, that 
whenever any number of persons entitled collectively 
to sixty-one rights, or 30,500 acres, should join in a 
location, the lands so located should be laid out in a 
township of seven miles square, and that the remaining 
860 acres, in such township, should be reserved for 
Gospel and School purposes. These rights were some- 
times retained by the soldiers, but, more frequently, a 
company of land speculators would furnish money to 
the recruiting officers, to be paid as a bounty to those 


who on enlistment should transfer their certificates to 
the company. In this way a large portion of the un- 
appropriated lands of the State, subject to location, 
passed into the hands of a few individuals. 

Judge Zephaniah Platt, of Poughkeepsie, and thirty- 
two other persons, having united in the purchase of 
the number of rights requisite to entitle the holders to 
a township, located them, in 1784, upon the lands 
which had formerly been embraced in the warrant is- 
sued by the English Government to Charles De Fre- 
denburgh. A survey of the land was made in the same 
year by Captain Nathaniel Platt and Captain Simon R. 
Reeves, two of the proprietors, and a patent issued by 
the State to Zephaniah Platt in 1785.* 

The proprietors were active in their efforts to secure 
the immediate settlement of the tract. Ten " gift lots " 
were set apart for the first ten persons who should 
move into the town with their families, and arrange- 
ments were made, at an early day, for the building of 
Mills, &c. 

On the 30th of December, 1784, twelve of the pro- 
prietors met at the house of Judge Platt, in Pough- 
keepsie, where they agreed to become jointly interest- 
ed in building a saw-mill, a grist-mill and a forge on 
the Saranac, near its mouth. They also agreed to fur- 
nish twine for a seine, and to build a piragua "of a 
moderate size." Attached to the agreement was an. 
estimate of the probable cost of the mills, from which 
it appears that three hundred and sixteen dollars were 

* The following is a list of the original proprietors of Plattsburgh 
Old Patent, and of the number of acres allotted to each. Thomas 
Tread well. Nehemiah Benedict and Thomas Benedict, 1120 acres; 
Nathaniel Platt, 950; Nathaniel Tom, 480; Burnet Miller, 480; Ezra 
L. Hommedieu, 320; Peter Tappan, 480; John Miller, 640; Benjamin 
Walker, 320; John Berrien, 480; Jonathan Lawrence, 480; Benjamin 
Smith, 480; Israel Smith, 960; Melancton Smith, 1120; Zephaniah 
Platt. 900: William Floyd. 320; Benjamin Conklin, 500; Andrew 
Billings, 400; John Adams, 1600; Thomas Stone, 1000; Lewis Barton, 
200; EbenezerMott,200; Zachous Newcomb, 1200; Platt Rogers, 1500; 
General Schuyler, 950; Benjamin Titus, 400; Charles Platt, 800; John 
Smith, 400; Albert Adriance, 200; Samuel Smith, 200; Jacobus S. 
Swartout, 200; Simon R Reeves, 2800; Zephaniah and Nathaniel 
Platt, 4050; Zephaniah and Nathaniel Platt and S. R. Reeves, 4300. 


appropriated for mill-stones, irons, nails, bolting-cloth 
and saw, and sixty-five dollars for flour and bread. 
One hundred and sixty dollars were divided equally be- 
tween pork and New England rum a pint of rum to 
a pound of pork being a workman's requisite in those 
roistering days. 

Among those who received the " gift lots " were 
Jacob Ferris, Thomas Allen, John B. Hartwick, Der- 
rick Webb, Jabez Pettit, Moses Soper, and Kinner 
Newcomb. Ferris received a deed for one hundred 
and twenty acres lying on the south side of the river 
Saranac, at its mouth, which covered all that part of 
the present village of Plattsburgh lying east of the 
river. In 1785, Charles McCreedy, Melancton L. 
Woolsey and several others moved into the town. 
Cumberland Head was then supposed to present the 
most eligible point for business, and the first stores es- 
tablished in the town were located there. After a few 
years, the stores were removed to the present village, 
but "the Head" still continued to be a place of some 
importance. It had a direct communication with Ver- 
mont, by ferry, and for a long time was the usual land- 
ing place for vessels navigating the lake. 

Probably few towns in the State of New York can 
claim among their first inhabitants and proprietors, a 
greater number of men of talent than Plattsburgh. 
Conspicuous in this class were Melancton Smith, 
Zephaniah Platt, Thomas Tredwell and Peter Sailly. 

MELANCTOX SMITH, one of the proprietors, was a 
native of Jamaica, Queen's County, L. I., where he was 
born in 1744. While a boy he was placed in a retail 
store in Poughkeepsie, and resided in that town until 
his removal to the city of New York in 1784. At the 
early age of thirty-one, he was chosen one of the dele- 
gates to represent the county of Dutchess in the first 
Provincial Congress of New York, which met in May 
1775, and soon became a leading and distinguished 
member of that body. He was one of the committee 
who prepared the celebrated address to the Canadians, 
at the commencement of the revolutionary struggle. 


On the 22d of June, 1776, he was appointed captain 
commandant of three companies of Militia raised in 
Dutchess and West Chester, and the next year was 
placed on the commission to prevent and subdue insur- 
rection and dissatisfaction in thos,e counties. He was 
in the same year appointed the first sheriff of Dutchess 
county, which office he held for four years and was 
afterwards made a Judge of the Common Pleas.* 

In 1778, though then a resident of the city of New 
York, Mr. Smith was chosen by the people of Dutchess 
County, to the convention which met in June of that 
year to consider the Constitution of the United States, 
as prepared by the Convention at Philadelphia in May 
of the preceding year. In the discussions and deliber- 
ations of this body, he exhibited talents and inform- 
ation of the highest order, and was ranked as one of 
the ablest opponents of Hamilton and Livingston on 
the floor of the Convention. When it was ascertained 
that a sufficient number of States had so decided as to 
render the adoption of the Constitution certain, Mr. 
Smith gave up his objections. " This was deemed at 
the time," says Chancellor Kent, "a magnanimous sac- 
rifice of preconceived principles and party discipline 
for the national welfare, and the effort was the greater 
inasmuch as he had to desert his friend, Governor Clin- 
ton, who persevered to the end in his hostility to the 

On 6th March, 1790, he was appointed by the legis- 
lature of the State of New York one of the commission- 
ers on the part of the state to agree with the commis- 
sioners of Vermont as to the boundary between that 
State and New York. 

Mr. Smith was twice married. His first wife w r as 
Sarah Smith, of New Jersey, who died in 1770 ; his sec- 
cond, Margaret, daughter of Richbill Motte of Long Isl- 
and, whom he married in 1771, and by whom he had 
four children, Richbill, Melancton, Sidney and Phoebe, 

* Journal of the New York Provincial Congress, 
t Chancellor Kent, as quoted in Appendix to Thompson's History 
of Long Island. 



all of whom afterwards resided in Plattsburgh. He 
died in the city of New York on the 29th of July, 1798, 
in the 55th year of his age. 

" Meluncton Smith," says Mr. Dunlap, " was a man 
of rough exterior, powerful in bodily appearance, and 
undaunted in expressing his mind, which he did in 
plain language, but with a sarcasm that was cutting 
and a humor correct and playful." " He was," says 
Chancellor Kent, " very amiable in his temper and dis- 
position, of a religious cast, and very fond of metaphys- 
ical and logical discussions, in which he was a master. 
In private life he was kind, affectionate and communi- 
cative, and as benevolent as amiable ; indeed his charity 
knew no limits. While the army was encamped near 
his residence in Dutchess County, the females of the 
family were constantly employed in making clothing 
for the soldiers. " I could only make up my bedding 
by stealth," Mrs. Smith afterwards used to say, " for if 
the Judge came in and found me sewing upon a pair of 
sheets, he would request the cloth cut into shirts for 
the half naked soldiers of Washington's army." 

ZAPHANIAH PLATT was possessed of a clear, sound 
and discriminating mind, and was classed among the 
first men of the State. In 1776, when forty-one years 
of age, he was chosen a delegate from Dutchess county 
to the first Provincial Congress, and occupied a prom- 
inent position in that body ; he was a member of the 
Committee of Safety and took an active part in the con- 
vention called for forming a constitution for the State. 
He was for a short time commissary for the troops un- 
der command of Brigadier-general Clinton. In June, 
1777, he was appointed a Judge of the Dutchess Com- 
mon Pletis, and the same year was elected one of the 
State Senators for the middle district, then composed 
of the counties of Dutchess, Ulster and Orange. He 
was also a member of the State Convention which as- 
sembled at Poughkeepsie, in June, 1788, to deliberate 
on. the adoption of the Constitution of the United 

In the Spring of 1777, the counties of Dutcness and 


West Chester were filled with disaffected persons, who, 
it was feared, upon the first advance of the British 
troops out of New York city, would attack those friend- 
ly to the American cause. To prevent this, the Provin- 
cial Convention appointed Mr. Platt and two other 
members of their body a committee to clear those coun- 
ties of all dangerous and disaffected persons. " You 
are," were the instructions to the committee, " on every 
occasion, by every means in your power, (torture ex- 
cepted,) to compel the discovery and delivery of all 
spies and emissaries of the enemy, who you may have 
reason to believe are concealed in any part of the coun- 
try through which you may make your progress, and 
upon due proof immediately execute them in terrorem"* 
The 'committee executed the delicate and responsible 
duty confided to them with firmness, and with the 
most impartial justice. 

After the war Mr. Platt engaged largely in the pur- 
chase of military land warrants and located them prin- 
cipally upon Lake Champlain. He removed from 
Poughkeepsie to Plattsburgh about the year 1801, 
where he resided until his death, in September, 1807. 

THOMAS TREADWELL, another of the original pro- 
prietors of Plattsburgh, was born in Smithtown, Long 
Island, in 1742, and graduated at Princeton in 1764. 
He was well educated, and highly distinguished for his 
good sense, prudence and firmness. In 1755, he was a 
member of the Provincial Convention. He was also a 
member of the Convention that framed the State 
Constitution, and was one of the Senators under that 
constitution. In 1788, he was a member of the Con- 
vention which assembled to consider the Constitution 
of the United States, in which he co-operated with 
Clinton, Melancton Smith, Yates and Lansing. He 
was made Judge of Probate of Suffolk county in 1783, 
and held the office until surrogates were appointed, 
when he received the appoinment of surrogate, which 
he held until 1791. f Soon after the organization of 

* Journal of the New York Provincial Congress, 
t Thompson's History of Long Island. 


Clinton county, he removed to Plattsburgh and was 
chosen a Senator for the northern District. In 1807, 
he was appointed Surrogatecof Clinton County, which 
office he held until the spring of 1831. He was for 
many years the last surviving member of the venerable 
assembly that framed the first Constitution of the 
State ; and died on the 30th of January, 1832, enjoying 
to the last the respect and confidence of his fellow- 

PETER SAILLY was a native of Loraine, France. He 
first visited the United States in 1783, and made a tour 
of exploration through the valley of the Mohawk and 
the country bordering on Lake Champlain. In 1785, 
he returned to France for his family, with whom he 
arrived at the city of New York in the summer of that 
year, and, having passed the winter in Albany, settled 
the following spring in the town of Plattsburgh. Mr. 
Sailly was a man of great probity, possessing -strong 
powers of mind and a clear discernment of character. 
He was active, enterprising and firm ; a master of order 
and method and scrupulously exact in his business 
transactions. Although educated in a foreign land, he 
brought to the country of his adoption a mind deeply 
imbued with the principles of liberty, which he care- 
fully cherished and enlarged in after life. He held 
several offices of public trust, and to the hour of his 
death enjoyed the unlimited confidence of his fellow- 
men. In 1804, he was elected a member of Congress 
from the Saratoga, Clinton and Essex district, and by 
his strict attention to business and a judicious and 
unostentatious course, won the confidence of Mr. Jeffer- 
son, by whom he was soon after appointed Collector of 
Customs for the district of Champlain an office he 
held through the successive administrations of Madison 
and Monroe until his death in 1826 ; a period of over 
eighteen years. 

The duties of Collector, during a portion of this time, 
were most delicate and responsible, as upon the revenue 
officers devolved. the arduous and unpopular service of 
putting in execution the embargo and non-intercourse 


laws. In the discharge of this duty Mr. Sailly never 
hesitated, but, upon all occasions, enforced the laws 
with promptness and strict impartiality. Kind and 
affable in his intercourse with his fellow-citizens, he 
wounded the feelings of none by a rough or unnecessary 
display of power, while his firmness and determination 
of character were too well understood, for any one to 
hope, by the strongest opposition, to deter him from 
the prompt discharge of his public duties. 

The first Court of Common Pleas and General Ses- 
sions for Clinton County was held at Plattsburgh, on 
the 28th of October, 1788. Judge Charles Platt 
presided. Peter Sailly, Theodorus Platt, William Mc- 
Auley, Pliny Moore, and Robert Cochran, were the 
associate justices; Benjamin Mooers was sheriff: 
Melancton L. Woolsey, clerk ; John Frontfreyde, 
coroner ; and Robert Paul, Jonathan Stephenson, 
Lewis Lizotte, and Jonathan Lynde, constables. One 
attorney, only, was in attendance, who appeared in 
behalf of the people ; the prisoners were defended by 
the clerk.* The first Circuit and Oyer and Terminer, 
for the northern part of the State, was held by Judge 
Benson, at the Court-house in Plattsburgh, on the 18th 
of August, 1796. The next year Judge Lansing held a 
circuit court at the " Block-house " in Willsborougli, 
where the court .also convened in 1798. 

In 1789 George Clinton and Robert Yates were 
opposing candidates for Governor. The canvass was 
so warmly contested that the supporters of Governor 
Clinton secured his re-election by the small majority of 

* CHAKLES PLATT was a native of Long Island and a brother 
of Zephaniah Platt. He removed to Plattsburgh soon after the 
organization of the town, was elected its first supervisor, and 
for several years was town clerk. He was first judge of the 
Clinton Common Pleas until the year 1804, and in 1808 was ap- 
pointed to the office of county clerk, which he held until 1822. ME- 
LANCTON L. WOOLSEY was the youngest son of Melancton T. 
Woolsey of Long Island, and in early life had served as an officer in 
the army and as aid to Governor Clinton. He removed to Platts- 
burgh in 1785, was soon after appointed Clerk of Clinton County and 
was, for several years, Collector of Customs for the Champhun 


four hundred and twenty-nine votes. The entire vote 
of Clinton County, at this election, was forty-five, 
which was thus divided between the two candidates. 

Crown Point, 10 

Willsborough, 15 3 

Pittsburgh, 17* 

In 1793 the vote of the County was increased to one 
hundred and thirty-four. George Clinton was elected 
Governor over Stephen Van Rensselaer, in 1801, by a 
majority of three thousand nine hundred and sixty-five. 
At this time Essex, had been set off from Clinton, and 
several new towns had been organized in both counties. 
This year the vote was as follows : 


Champlain, 42 45 

Lisbon, 21 71 

Pittsburgh, 107 21 

Chateaugay, 11 62 

Peru, 90 24 

271 213 

Willsborough, 50 82 

Crown Point, 10 6 

Elizabethtown, 69 9 

Jay, 46 13 

175 110 

The vote of both counties in 1803 was 749, which 

* The poll list of this election was not preserved, but it can be con- 
jectured who cast these seventeen votes, when it is known that the 
following seventeen persons were elected to town offices in Platts- 
burgh, at that election. Charles Platt, Kinner Newcomb, Theodorus 
Platt, Melancton L. Woolsey, Abraham Beeman, John Stephenson, 
John Cochran, Jr., Nathan Averill, Cyrenus Newcomb, Edward 
Everett, Peter Sailly, John B. Hardwick, Jonas Allen, Moses Soper, 
Titus Andrews, Benjamin Mooers, and Lucius Keynolds. 


was increased to 929, in 1804. Two years later the 
number of votes polled in both counties was 1,247. 

The increase of population on both sides of the lake, 
from 1790 to 1800, was nearly two hundred per cent. 
During this decade considerable progress was made in 
agriculture ; particularly on the Vermont side, where 
the attention of the great body of the inhabitants was 
directed to the cultivation of the soil, the raising of 
sheep and the production of flax. The manufacture of 
pot and pearl ash was also carried on to a considerable 
extent. Some attention had likewise been given to the 
manufacture of iron. As early as 1^92, four forges 
were erected in Addison County and two in Chitten- 
den, and prior to the year 1800, several other forges 
had been erected at other points, upon both sides of 
the lake. These forges were principally supplied from 
a bed near Crown Point, which is yet celebrated for 
the quality and quantity of its ore.* The country 
abounded with maple trees from which large quantities 
of sugar were annually made. Many of the maples 
were of very large size and it was not unusual for the 
farmers to make from twelve to fifteen pounds of sugar, 
in the course of the season, from a single tree.f 

The first settlers were generally hunters and derived 
considerable profit .from the sale of peltry, as the country 
then abounded with moose, deer, bears, beavers, foxes, 
wolves, rabbits, martins, etc. The lake was also cele- 
brated for the abundance, variety and delicate flavor of 
its fish. Salmon, maskinonge, bass, shad, pike, pickerel, 
and perch were caught in great abundance in all parts 
of the lake, and in the mouths of the principal streams. 
The lower part of the lake near Wind-mill Point, and 
the Big Chazy river at the foot of the first rapids, were 
especially celebrated for their salmon fisheries. Cham- 

* When Kalra was at Crown Point, in 1749, lie noticed black sand 
upon the shores of the lake, but he pays it was not then known 
whether there were iron mines in the neighborhood or not. Iron ore 
was first found within the present limits of Clinton County, in 1800, 
when the " Winter Bed " was discovered by Mr. George Shaffer. The 
" Arnold Bed " was first opened in 1809. 

t Williams' History of Vermont. 


plain, in the account of his expedition in 1609, de- 
scribes a large fish found in the hike, which the Indians 
called chaousarou, and which grew to the length of 
eight or ten feet. He saw one live feet long, "as thick 
as a thigh, with a head as big as two fists, with jaws 
two feet and a half long and a double set of very sharp 
and dangerous teeth." " The form of the body," says 
Champlain, " resembles that of the pike, and it is armed 
with scales that a thrust of a poniard cannot pierce ; 
and is of a silver gray color. The point of the head is 
like that of a hog."* This fish made war upon all others 
in the lake, who fled in terror at its approach. It was 
probably the esox longirostris or the esox osxem of 
Mitchell. The species, of smaller size, still exists in 
the lake, and is occasionally caught near Isle La Motte..f 

A large quantity of pine and oak timber was annually 
cut on the borders of the lake, which was rafted, through 
the Richelieu and St. Lawrence, to Quebec, from 
whence it was shipped to England. The timber trade 
had furnished employment for the early settlers before 
the Revolution. After the war, it greatly increased, 
and, for many years, formed an important traffic for 
the inhabitants residing on the west side of the lake. 
The amount of sawed lumber exported at that early 
day was inconsiderable, for although there were saw- 
mills upon all the principal streams on both sides of the 
lake, they were generally rude buildings, erected and 
used solely to supply the wants of their immediate 

The commerce of the lake was principally limited to 
a small export and import trade with Canada. Vermont 
imported rum, wines, brandy, gin, coarse linens and 
woolens, tea, coffee, chocolate, and many articles nec- 
essary for building. Her exports were grain of all 
kinds, bar iron, wrought nails, pot and pearl ashes, 
beef, pork, lumber, peltry, maple sugar and some flax.J 

* Voyages de la Nouv. France, 1609. 

t See DE KAY'S description of the Gar Fish and of the Buffalo 
Bony Pike, in the Natural History of New York, 
t Williams' History of Vernont. 


The exports on the New York side were lumber, pot 
and pearl ashes, peltry and iron. Large quantities of 
grain and provisions were brought from Vermont and 
Canada, to supply the inhabitants of Clinton and Essex 
counties, who, from the first, had been allured from the 
pursuits of agriculture, by the attractions of the lumber 

Large tracts of land, lying in Clinton county, were 
set apart in 1784 and 1786 for Canadian and Nova Sco- 
tia refugees, and for such of the inhabitants of the 
State as had served in the United States Army and 
were entitled to land bounties, under the act of 1782. 
These tracts were surveyed and subdivided, and many 
of the lots were occupied under the State Grants. The 
greater portion, however, was forfeited for want of ac- 
tual occupation, and the lands were afterwards patent- 
ed by the State to other persons. Among those acquir- 
ing title by patents was William Bailey, who purchased 
an extensive tract in the present town of Chateaugay. 
He moved there in the year 1800, and cleared and cul- 
tivated a large farm near the " Four Corners." At an 
early day he built a forge on the Chateaugay River, 
near the falls, which he intended to supply with ore 
from a bed at the south end of the Upper Chateaugay 
Lake. This bed, when first opened, presented every 
indication of containing a large supply of ore, but it 
soon became apparently exhausted, and the forge was 
abandoned. Mr. Bailey also erected a paper-mill at 
Chateaugay, which continued in operation for several 
years. This was the first paper-mill in northern New 

* WILLIAM BAILEY was a son of Colonel John Bailey of Dutchess 
county. At the age of eighteen, he was drafted into the Dutchess 
county militia, and was sent to join the army at West Point. He 
first visited Lake Champlain in 1786, and aided in the survey of the 
lands belonging to Zephaniah Platt and his associates. He was one of 
the Associate Justices of the Clinton Common Pleas in 1779, and 
was appointed First Judge of the County in 1806. In 1800, he was 
appointed First Major in Lt. Col. Benjamin Mooers' regiment of Mil- 
itia, and was elected a member of the Assembly in 1802. and again 
in 1806. He removed to Plattsburgh in 1811, where he resided until 
his death, in the year 1840. About eighty years after the ore bed 
was abandoned by Judge Bailey, it was re-opened by the Chateau- 


Before Mr. Bailey settled in Chateaugay, he was 
employed by the State to survey the lands set apart for 
the Canadian and Nova Scotia refugees. At this time 
ihe British occupied Point au Fer as a military post, 
and the commanding officer there refused to allow the 
surveying party to approach or to continue their sur- 
vey to the Point. The claim of the British command- 
ant seems to have included all the territory north of the 
Big Chazy River, for after Judge Pliny Moore settled 
in Champlain in 1785, he was visited, on the first of 
each month, by a corporal and file of men, sent from 
Point au Fer to notify him that his claim of title from 
the state of New York would not be recognized. No 
attention was paid to these repeated warnings, which 
continued until the British gave up possession of Point 
au Fer, about the year 1788. 

I have already had occasion to refer to the conflict- 
ing claims set up by various parties, and at different 
times, to the title and sovereignty of the country bor- 
dering on Lake Champlain. The last of these claims had 
been adjusted in the year preceding the admission of 
Vermont into the Union. In the year 1792, the Caugh- 
nawaga and St. Regis Indians, calling themselves the 
Seven Nations of Canada, sent a deputation to the Gov- 
ernment of the State of New York, claiming a tract of 
land covering a large portion of the northern part of 
the State. A commission, consisting of Egbert Benson, 
Richard Varick and James Watson, was appointed to 
treat with the Indian Chiefs upon the subject, and in 
the summer of 1796, an arrangement was effected, by 
virtue of which the Seven Nations relinquished their 
claim, with the exception of the St. Regis reservation, 
for a small sum in hand paid, and a yet smaller perpet- 
ual annuity. 

As soon as the Seven Nations had completed their ne- 
gotiations with the State of New York, they advanced 
a similar claim against Vermont, for lands lying on the 
east side of Lake Champlain. 

gay Iron & Ore Company and proved to be a very large deposit of 
rich and valuable ore. 


The subject was carefully examined by the Legisla- 
ture of Vermont, but no decision was had until the next 
year, when the Governor of the State was requested to 
inform the claimants that the Legislature was of the 
opinion that their claim, if it ever existed, had long 
since been done away and become extinct, in conse- 
quence of the treaty of Peace, in 1763, between the 
King of Great Britain and the French King, and the 
treaty of Peace between the King of Great Britain and 
the United States, in the year 1783 ; and that the In- 
dians had now no real claim either in justice or equity. 
This decision was communicated to the Indians and the 
subject was dropped, without any further negotiations 
by either party. 

The Caughnawagas resided on the south bank of the 
St. Lawrence, near the Island of Montreal, in Canada. 
The St. Regis Indians lived above and upon the same 
bank of that river. The latter still occupy the lands 
reserved to them by their agreement with the State, in 
1796. These Indians were quiet and peaceable, and 
endeavored not only to preserve order within their own 
territory, but to prevent the violation of the laws of 
New York. 



Difficulties between Great Britain and the United States Henry's 
Mission to New England President Madison's Message to Congress 
Report of Committee on Foreign Affairs Declaration of War in 
June, 1812 Troops ordered to the Champlain Frontier General 
Dearborn's " Morning Visit " in Canada His Army go into Winter 
Quarters Affairs at St. Regis Operations on the Ontario Fron- 
tier during the Summer of 1818 British and American Naval force 
on Lake Champlain Loss of the Growler and Eagle Colonel 
Murray burns the Barracks and Public Buildings at Plattsburgh. 

ALTHOUGH Great Britain acknowledged the Inde- 
pendence of the United States by the Treaty of 1783, 
she could not forget that they had once formed the 
largest and most important of her colonial possessions. 
A feeling of dissatisfaction pervaded the British nation, 
and led to many acts of oppression towards the infant 
confederacy. Vessels, sailing upon the high seas under 
the American flag, were boarded by her ships of war ; 
American seamen were impressed; trade with neutral 
nations was forbidden, and the territory of the United 
States invaded. 

In June, 1807, the British ship of war Leopard fired 
into and boarded the U. S. Frigate Chesapeake, while 
the latter vessel was yet within sight of the American 
coast. Ten days after this attack, Mr. Jefferson issued 
a proclamation interdicting all intercourse with the 
British armed vessels then within the waters of the 
United States. This proclamation was followed, on 
the 22d of December, of the same year, by an Act of 
Congress declaring an unlimited embargo on every port 
in the Union.* 

* Troops were sent to the northern frontier of New York to aid the 
customs officers in enforcing the embargo. These troops numbered 
about 200 men, and consisted of a portion of Capt. Delaney's and 
Capt. Stephenson's companies of militia, a company of U. S. In- 
fantry under Capt. Brooks, and a company of U. S. Artillery, under 
Capt. Townsend. The militia was soon mustered out of service, but 


During the year 1808, negotiations were conducted 
between the two countries in a temper that promised a 
pacific termination of the dispute : but no definite 
arrangement was concluded. The United States, in the 
meantime, was making preparations for defense. A 
large number of gunboats were constructed for the pro- 
tection of the sea coast, and, in January, 1809, the 
President was directed to equip four new vessels of 
war. About the same time, Lieutenant Melancton T. 
Woolsey was sent north to build two gun-boats on Lake 
Champlain, and a brig of sixteen guns on Lake 

When the news of the attack upon the Chesapeake 
first readied the people, there was a general cry of in- 
dignation throughout the countiy. Politics, however, 
ran high at the time, and this natural and national sen- 
timent was soon consumed, in many quarters, by the 
fire of party strife. As the dispute with Great Britain 
progressed, the opposition of the anti-administration 
party developed itself more and more against the policy 
and measures of the Government, until, at length, the 
authorities of Canada were induced to believe that a 
portion of the States were anxious to secede from the 
Union.* To encourage this feeling of discontent, Sir 
John Craig, Governor of Canada, sent the notorious 
John Henry as an emissary among the federalists of the 
New England States, with directions to ascertain how 
far, in case of their separation from the Union, they 
" would look to England for assistance or be disposed 
to enter into a connection with Great Britain." 

Mr. Henry reached Burlington on the 12th of Febru- 
ary, 1809, and at first was much pleased with the evi- 
dences of discontent among the people. " On the 

the two companies of regulars were stationed in the county until 
after the declaration of war with Great Britain ; the artillery gener- 
ally occupying a position on the lake shore, near Rouse's Point, and 
the infantry at Champlain, or in the vicinity of Plattsburgh. 

* This opposition was the most violent in the Eastern States, the 
inhabitants of which were more commercial, and had suffered more 
from the effects of the embargo, than those of any other section of 
the Union. 


subject of the embargo laws," he writes Governor Craig, 
" there seems but one opinion ; namely : that they are 
unnecessary, oppressive and unconstitutional. It must 
also be observed that the execution of them is so in- 
vidious as to attract towards the officers of Govern- 
ment, the enmity of the people, which is of course 
transferred to the Government itself ; so that, in case 
the State of Massachusetts should take any bold step 
towards resisting the execution of these laws, it is high- 
ly probable that it may calculate upon the hearty co- 
operation of the people of Vermont." A few days later 
Mr. Henry expresses some doubts as to the correctness 
of his first opinions. " The federal party," he again 
writes Governor Craig, " declare that in the event of 
war, the State of Vermont will treat separately for itself 
with Great Britain, and support to the utmost the stipu- 
lations in which it may enter, without any regard to 
the policy of the general Government. The democrats 
on the other hand assert that, in such a case as that 
contemplated, the people would be nearly divided into 
equal numbers ; one of which would support the Gov- 
ernment, if it could be done without involving the 
people in a civil war; but at all events would risk 
everything, in preference to a coalition with Great 

Henry's investigations were not very satisfactory, 
and before he left for Boston, he evidently became con- 
vinced that in the event of a dispute among the States, 
the citizens of Vermont could not be relied upon to 
join the seceders, or to unite in a strong opposition to 
the war. He had at first been led astray by the loud 
clamor of politicians, and by the complaints of those 
who had suffered most from the operation of the 
embargo. These laws had severely injured the com- 
merce of the lake, and had broken up the direct com- 
munication with the Canada markets, upon which the 
inhabitants of the lake counties depended for a sale of 
their products, and for a supply of foreign commodities. 

The country was filled with smugglers, who fre- 
quently came in collision with the revenue officers. In 


some of these encounters blood had been shed and lives 
lost. The first serious affray occurred on the Winooski 
River, in 1808, between a party of Government officers 
and a smuggling vessel called the Black Snake, in 
which two of the Government officers were killed. 
Attempts were frequently made to seize the Collectors 
and Revenue officers, stationed on both sides of the 
lake. These attempts always failed, but, on one occa- 
sion, two of the assailants were severely, although not 
mortally wounded. The feeling of opposition to the 
embargo was strong at the time of Henry's visit, in 
1809, and induced him to attach greater importance to 
the representations of a few persons, as to the senti- 
ments of the inhabitants of Western Vermont, than 
was warranted by the real inclinations of the people 
themselves. It is well known that when war was 
declared, the Vermontese were not only ready to repel 
an invasion of that State, but that many of them 
volunteered to cross the lake, and oppose the advance 
of the British into the State of New York 

The difficulties between the United States and Great 
Britan continued to increase, in number and impor- 
tance, until the year 1812. On the 1st of June of that 
year, Mr. Madison sent a message to Congress, in which 
he reviewed the various grounds of complaint against 
Great Britain, and set forth, at length, the unsatis- 
factory manner in which that power had received and 
treated the frequent remonstrances made on the part 
of the United States. This message was referred to 
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, who, a few days 
afterwards, made a report in which they fully con- 
curred in the sentiments expressed in the President's 

In this report the Committee declare that more than 
seven years had elapsed, since the commencement of a 
system of hostile aggressions, by the British Govern- 
ment, on the rights and interests of the United States. 
That the United States had done everything ir. their 
power to preserve the relations of friendship \vith 
Great Britain, and had given proof of this disposition 


at the moment when they were made the victims of an 
opposite policy. The committee then referred to the 
attack made by Great Britain upon the commerce 
between the United States and the Colonies of France 
and Spain. A commerce which, they declared, was 
just in itself, sanctioned by the example of Great Britain 
in regard to the trade with her own colonies ; sanctioned 
by a solemn act between the two Governments in the 
last war, and by the practice of the British Government 
in the then existing European War. 

They refer, at length, to the different attacks made 
by great Britain upon the rights and sovereignty of the 
United States ; the interference with her neutral trade ; 
the pretended blockade of the whole coast of Europe, 
from the Elbe to Brest, inclusive ; the order of Council 
of January 1807, by which neutral powers were prohib- 
ited from trading from one port to another of France, 
or of her allies, or to any country with which Great 
Britain might not freely trade ; the order of Council of 
November of the same year ; the claim of right to search 
vessels sailing under the American flag ; the impress- 
ment of American citizens into the British naval service, 
and the attempt to dismember the Union, by a secret 
mission to foment discontent and excite insurrection 
against the constituted authorities and laws of the 

Having clearly and plainly stated the facts upon which 
these charges were based, and reviewed the whole course 
of Great Britain against the United States, since 1804, 
the Committee recommended an immediate appeal to 
arms, and introduced a bill declaring war between the 
United States and Great Britain. This bill passed the 
Senate by a vote of nineteen to thirteen, and the House 
of Representatives by a vote of seventy-nine to forty- 
nine, and was promulgated by the proclamation of Pres- 
ident Madison, on the 17th day of June, 1812. 

Active measures were immediately taken by many of 
the States to second the action of the general govern- 
ment. The State of New York approved warmly of 
the course of the administration, and prepared to pro- 


ecute the war with vigor. Vermont was at the time 
under the control of the democrats, and botli the Gov- 
vernor and Legislature pledged themselves to support 
the country in the approaching contest. A law was 
immediately passed by the Legislature of the latter 
State, prohibiting all intercourse with Canada without 
a permit from the Governor, and mejisures were taken 
for calling out the militia whenever their services might, 
be required. 

The effective force in Canada, at the time of the dec- 
laration of war, was about ten thousand men. These 
troops were principally concentrated around Quebec, 
but the greater part were soon afterwards removed to 
Upper Canada, which was threatened on the west by 
an army under General Hull. In the summer of 1812, 
General Bloomfield was ordered to the Champlain 
frontier, with several regiments. By the 1st of Sep- 
tember, he had about eight thousand men, including 
regulars, volunteers and militia, under his command. 
This force was stationed at Plattsburgh, with small ad- 
vance parties thrown forward as far as Chazy and 
Champlain. The troops remained in quarters until the 
16th of November, when they advanced north, under 
the immediate command of Major General Dearborn, 
and, on the 18th, encamped about half a mile south of 
the Canada line. The army collected at this point 
numbered three thousand regulars and two thousand 

The entire British force on the northern frontier did 
not exceed three thousand men, and of these not more 
than one thousand were within striking distance of the 
American army. When Dearborn had concentrated 
his troops near the lines, he prepared to cross into Can- 
ada. Aa he approached Odelltown, Major Salaberry, 
who commanded in that quarter, sent forward two com- 
panies of voltigeurs and three hundred Indians to sup- 
port the two companies of embodied militia, who formed 
the British outposts on the Lacolle. Major Salaberry 
followed, the next day, with the remainder of the vol- 
tigeurs and four companies of chasseurs. 


Before 'day-break on the morning of the 20th, a de- 
tachment of Dearborn's army forded the Lacolle, and 
surrounded the guard-house which was occupied by the 
Canadian militia and a few Indians, who rushed out, 
broke through the American lines, and escaped unhurt. 
In the mean time a second party of the Americans had 
advanced, and commenced a sharp fire upon those in 
possession of the ground mistaking them for the British 
picket. This fire continued for nearly half an hour, 
when being undeceived, the two parties united and 
hastily retreated, leaving behind them five killed and 
as many wounded.* The troops immediately after- 
wards returned to Champlain. The designs of the 
American General were so completely obscured, that 
no one discovered the particular advantages intended 
to be gained by this singular and inefficient movement. 
It was a prelude to many similar operations on the 
Champlain frontier, during the war. 

On the 23d of September, the army returned to 
Plattsburgh, where the 6th, 15th, and 16th regiments 
went into winter quarters. The militia were dis- 
banded; the 9th, llth, 21st and 25th regiments were 
sent to Burlington, and the light artillery and dra- 
goons returned to Greenbush. Brigadier-general 
Chandler commanded the troops left at Burlington, and 
Colonel Pike those stationed at Plattsburgh. f 

On the 23d of October, a gallant affair took place at 
St. Regis, where Major Young surprised a party of 

Christie's History of the War in Canada. Genearal Aarmstrong 
then U. S. Secretary of War, says this account does not differ materially 
from those given by the American officers. 

t Zebulon Montgomery Pike was born in Laml>erton, N. J., January 
5, 1789. He joined the army when young, and soon rose to the rank 
of lieutenant. In August, 1805, he left St. Louis at the head of twenty 
men to explore the country west of the Mississippi river, and, during 
his explorations, discovered Pike's Peak, the summit of the Rocky 
Mountains. On his return he was made successively captain, major ; 
and in 1810, colonel of infantry. In 1813 he was appointed brigadier- 
general and placed in command of the land forces in the expedition 
against York. He arrived at York (then the capital of Upper Canada) 
on the 27th April, 1813, and, after landing and carrying the battery, 
was mortally wounded from the British magazine. 


British and took forty prisoners. But the campaign of 
1812 did not add to the lustre of the American Arms 
On the Champlain frontier, nothing was achieved be- 
yond the little affair at St. Regis. The operations on 
the Ontario frontier were confined to a few skirmishes, 
the defence of Fort Niagara, and an unsuccessful and 
most disastrous assault upon Queenstown ; while the 
incompetent and timid Hull surrendered Detroit and 
the North western Army, without a battle, or any 
effort to maintain the honor of the country. 

In the course of the winter preparations were made 
for the invasion of Upper Canada. The two brigades 
stationed on Lake Champlain, moved for the Ontario 
frontier in February, leaving a small detachment at 
Burlington to protect the magazines and provisions 
collected there. The west side of the lake was left 
wholly unprotected, and remained so until .the month 
of September following. 

During the year 1811 a very active trade had been 
carried on between the United States and Canada. 
The value of exports for that year from the District of 
Champlain, which included the New York side of the 
lake only, exceeded half a million of dollars, of which 
four hundred and fifty thousand dollars was of property 
of American growth and manufacture. Among the 
articles exported were 1,513 barrels of beef, 2,678 bar- 
rels of pork, 70,269 pounds of butter, 53,049 pounds of 
cheese and more than 2,000 head of cattle. The value 
of masts, spars, timber and sawed lumber exported ex- 
ceeded two hundred thousand dollars. The number 
of clearances from the district between the 10th of 
April and the 10th of December was one hundred and 
ninety. Of these, forty-two were rafts and the remain- 
der sail vessels, bateaux and row-boats. A steamboat, 
called the Vermont, made one trip each week to St. 

* The Vermont was the first steamboat on Lake Champlain. She 
was built at Burlington, by Winans and Lough, in 1808, commenced 
running in 1809 and continued in service about six years. She was 
sunk at Isle aux Noix in October, 1815. The following vessels were 


Hie commencement of hostilities between the United 
States and Canada broke up the trade with Canada and 
again put in motion a numerous band of old and experi- 
enced smugglers, who resided along the frontier from 
Lake Memphremagog to the St. Lawrence. The collec- 
tors used every precaution to put a stop to the illegal 
practices of these people, but on more than on one occa- 
sion the ingenuity of the smuggler was more than a 
match for the vigilance of the officers. Small row-boats 
would elude the revenue cutters in the darkness of the 
night, and pack-horses, loaded with rich and valuable 
goods, would frequently escape th rough the thick woods 
which bounded the settlement on both sides of the lake. 
The United States troops stationed on or near the fron- 
tier occasionally aided the custom-house officers in the 
discharge of their arduous duties. 

Prior to the commencement of the war, the whole 
naval force on Lake Champlain consisted of two gun- 
boats, which lay at Basin Harbor, on the Vermont side 
of the lake. In the course of the summer of 1812, two 
small sloops were fitted up and armed, to which were 
joined four scows, carrying one long eighteen pounder 
each. These vessels constituted the whole naval force 
of the Americans. The British, at that time, had no 
vessels on the lake, nor any in the Richelieu larger than 
gun -boats. 

Late in the fall of 1812, Lieutenant Thomas Macdon- 
ough* was ordered north to take charge of the naval 

cleared at the Champlain custom house in 1811: Schooner Liberty, 
Capt. T. Babcock ; Sloops Eagle, S. Boardman ; Euretta, John Boyn- 
ton ; Jupiter, Justin Smith ; Hunter, N. Hinckley ; Independence, Z. 
Manning ; Juno, A. Ferris ; Champlain, E. Hurlburt ; Essex, A. 
Rock ; Rising Sun, Elijah Boynton ; Mars, T. Clark ; Enterprise, E. 
Bellamy ; Lady Washington, R. Johes ; and Richard, Gideon King. 

* Thomas Macdonough was lx>rn in Newcastle, County Delaware, 
December 23d, 1783. He entered the navy as a midshipman in 1800, 
and served in the Mediterranean under Brainbridge and Decatur. In 
1807 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and in 1813 to that of 
master commandant, and was placed in command of the naval forces on 
Lake Champlain. For his services on that lake he was made captain. 
His last command was that of the Mediterranean squadron, where he 
was taken sick and died November 16, 1825, at sea, on board a vessel 
sent by Government to bring him home. 


operations on the lake, which until then had been con- 
fided to Lieutenant Sidney Smith.* 

Macdonough brought out his vessels in the spring of 
1813, as soon as the lake was free from ice. The Ameri- 
can flotilla at this time consisted of the sloop President, 
fitted up during the winter, which was commanded by 
Macdonough in person; the sloop Growler, Lieutenant 
Smith, and the sloop Eagle, Mr. Loomis. About the 
first of June, Macdonough received information of an 
attack, by several British gun-boats, upon some small 
craft at the lower end of the lake. In consequence of 
this intelligence, he ordered Lieutenant Smith to move 
towards Rouse's Point, with the Growler and Eagle, in 
order, to attack the gun-boats, should they again make 
their appearance. Lieutenant Smith left Plattsburgh 
harbor, with his vessels, on the morning of the 2nd of 
June, and about dark cast anchor within a mile of the 
lines. The next morning, about day-break, he got un- 
der way, and proceeded down the Richelieu as far as 
Ash Island, (Isle aux Tetes) where he discovered and 
gave chase to three British gun-boats. The wind was 
blowing fresh from the south, at the time, and soon 
brought the sloops, the Growler leading, within sight of 
the works at Isle Aux Noix. The sloops now tacked 
and began to beat back towards the open lake, having 
the wind against them, with a slight adverse current in 
the river. 

As soon as the British were aware of the advantages 
these circumstances gave them, three of their row- 
galleys came out from under the works at Isle Aux 
Noix, and opened a brisk fire upon the sloops. As the 
galleys carried long twenty-fours, while the largest 

* Mr. Smith was 5th lieutenant on board the Chesapeake at the time 
of the Leopard's attack upon that vessel, in June, 1807, and, on the re- 
turn of the Chesapeake to Hampton Roads, joined the other officers of 
that frigate in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, preferring charges 
against Commodore Uaron, and requesting a court of inquiry upon his 
conduct. He afterwards served on board the U. S. ship Wasp, and, in 
March, 1810, was ordered to Lake Champlain, where he remained in 
command, until the arrival of Lieutenant Macdonough in the fall of 
1812. He married a daughter of Judge Bailey, of Plattsburgh, and 
died a commander in 1827. 


guns on the sloops were eighteens, the former were able 
to select their own distance, nor could the latter come 
to close quarters without running within range of the 
fire of the batteries on the island. To render the situa- 
tion of the sloops still more critical, the British now 
lined the woods on each side of the river, and opened 
upon them with musketry. This fire was returned with 
constant discharges of grape and canister, and, in this 
manner, the contest was continued for several hours, 
with great gallantry on both sides. About four hours 
after the commencement of the action, a shot from one 
of the galleys struck the Eagle under her starboard 
quarter and passed out on the other side, ripping off a 
plank under water. The sloop went down almost im- 
mediately, but fortunately in shoal water, and her 
crew were taken off by boats sent from the shore ; soon 
after this accident, the Growler had her fore stay and 
main boom shot away, when she became unmanageable 
and ran ashore. 

In this engagement the Growler had one killed and 
eight wounded, and the Eagle eleven wounded, includ- 
ing the pilot, Mr. Graves. The whole number of men 
on board both vessels when they went into action was 
one hundred and twelve, including Captain Herrick 
and thirty-three volunteers from his company. The 
officers and men were taken prisoners and sent to 
Canada.* The two sloops, having been refitted, were 
transferred to the British service, their names being 
changed to the Finch and Chubb, and were subse- 
quently re-captured by Macdonough in September, 
1814. The loss to the British in this engagement was 
never correctly ascertained. It must have been very 
severe, however, as their forces advanced to the bank 
of the river, where, destitute of shelter, they received 
broadside after broadside of canister and grape. A 
sergeant of the llth Regiment, who had volunteered on 

* A court of inquiry was held at Sackett's Harbor in the summer of 
1815 on the loss of the Eagle and Growler, when Lieut. Smith was 
acquitted and his conduct declared to have been "gallant, correct 
and meritorious." 


board one of the sloops, and who was paroled on ac- 
count of his wounds, reported that he counted thirty of 
the enemy dead upon one small spot.* 

The capture of the Growler and Eagle gave to the 
British the superiority on the lake. In July Macdon- 
ough increased his naval force, which by the loss of the 
Growler and Eagle had been reduced to one sloop, by 
the addition of six gun-boats, and, by the 20th of 
August, had fitted out and armed three small sloops, 
mounting together 28 guns. This increased the Amer- 
ican force on the lake to about fifty guns. In the offi- 
cial returns in the Admiralty office, it is stated that the 
British had at Isle Aux Noix or St. John, on the 24th 
of July, two sloops of eleven guns and forty men each, 
and three gun-boats of twenty men each. Other ac- 
counts state their naval force, in August, at three 
sloops, four gun-boats and three row-galleys, mounting 
in all about forty-two guns. The efficacy of this arm 
was, however, less than the number of guns would seem 
to indicate, for the sloops, on both sides, were originally 
built and used in the transport service, and were not 
adapted to war purposes. 

Before the American flotilla had been increased by 
the addition of the three sloops, a party of British, 
under Colonel Murray, made a descent upon Platts- 
burgh, and destroyed or took away a large amount of 
public and private property. Although this was in 
fact nothing but a predatory incursion, it was treated 
by the English at the time as a most glorious achieve- 
ment, and has been so considered by their historians up 
to the present day. Mr. Alison, in his history of Europe, 
a work replete with errors in relation to the military 
operations on this frontier during the war of 1812, 
refers to the expedition, and says that " the English 
flotilla, with nine hundred men on board, stretched 
across the lake, took Plattsburgh, which was evacuated 
by twelve hundred Americans, without firing a shot, 

* The current belief, in the neighborhood of the action, was that the 
British loss exceeded two hundred, but this was probably an exag- 


burned part of the naval stores and brought away the 
rest, and also destroyed the American naval establish- 
ments at Champlain and Burlington. 

A greater number of errors could not well be col- 
lected in so few words. Alison lias overrated the num- 
ber of Americans at Pluttsburgh, diminished the actual 
strength of the British, and misstated every circum- 
stance connected with the transaction. The force under 
Colonel Murray was embarked on two war sloops, three 
gun-boats, and forty-seven long-boats, and numbered 
over fourteen hundred men, including infantry, sailors 
and marines. With this force Murray crossed the lines 
on the 30th of July, passed Champlain, where the 
Americans had not then, nor ever had, a naval estab- 
lishment, and on the afternoon of Saturday, the 31st, 
arrived at Plattsburgh, where he landed, without oppo- 
sition, and began a work of destruction which con- 
tinued until ten o'clock of the next day, when he re- 
embarked and stood out of the Bay. At the time the 
British landed, there were no regular troops on the 
west side of the lake. Major-General Hampton, it is 
true, was at Burlington on the opposite side, twenty 
miles distant, with between three and four thousand 
men under his command, but, from some unaccountable 
cause, he made no attempt to cross the lake or to pro- 
tect the village of Plattsburgh, although he had twenty- 
four hour's notice of the intended attack.* While the 
British were at Plattsburgh, about three hundred militii 
were hastily collected, but they did not approach the 
village until after the enemy had retired. 

When Colonel Murray first entered the village, he 
assured the civil authorities that private property should 

* " I could not persuade myself that the American force stationed at 
Burlington of 4000 effective men, within twenty miles of this place, could 
be suffered to remain idle spectators of the destruction of the public 
property and of this village by comparatively a very small British force. 
Messengers were repeatedly sent to General Hampton with a request 
that one regiment might be sent here, but to no effect. It is a fact that 
from the Canada line to the south end of Lake Champlain, on the west 
side, there is not a military post nor a soldier to be seen." Peter Sailly 
to the Secretary of the Treasury, August 4, 1813. 


be respected, and that citizens, not in arms, should re- 
main unmolested. These promises were, however, 
most shamefully violated, for the British, not satisfied 
with destroying the block-house, arsenal, armory and 
hospital in the village, and the military cantonment near 
Fredenburgh Falls, two miles above, wantonly burned 
three private store-houses, took possession of about two 
thousand dollars' worth of hardware, belonging to mer- 
chants of the city of Boston, and plundered several 
private dwellings, destroying furniture and such articles 
as they could not use or carry away. The value of the 
private property plundered exceeded eight thousand 
dollars. Inventories of this property were prepared 
and published at the time, and include long lists of fur- 
niture, books, clothing, cooking utensils, groceries and 
dry goods. Soldiers would break into private dwell- 
ings and bear off back loads of property to the boats, in 
the presence of British officers, who, when remonstrated 
with by the plundered citizens, replied that they could 
not prevent it, as the men did not belong to their com- 
pany.* The value of the public property destroyed 
was estimated at twenty-five thousand dollars. 

Colonel Murray, having accomplished the work of 
destruction, retired in great haste, leaving behind him 
a picket-guard of twenty-one men, who were made 
prisoners and sent to Burlington. The long-boats and 
two of the gun-boats then proceeded to S wanton, Vt., 
where the men burned some old barracks, and plun- 
dered several citizens of the place. On their way, they 
landed at Cumberland Head and Point Au Roche, and 
pillaged the houses and farms of Henry W. Brand, 
Judge Treadwell and Jeremiah Stowe. They also 
burned a store at Chazy Landing belonging to Judge 
Saxe. The two sloops and the other gun-boat, after 
leaving Plattsburgh, stood for the south and sailed ten 

* It appears by the inventories of plundered property, published at 
the time, that Judge De Lord lost $1079.18 ; Peter Sailly, Esq.. $887.77 ' 
besides two store-houses burned and valued at $900 ; Judge Palmer, 
$386.50 ; Doctor Miller, $1200 ; Bostwick Buck, $150 ; Jacob Ferris, 
5700 ; several smaller amounts were lost by other citizens. A store- 
house belonging to Major Platt was also burned at the time. 


or twelve miles above Burlington, when they returned 
towards Canada. As the vessels passed Burlington 
they fired a few shots at the place, but bore away as 
soon as the batteries on shore began to play upon them. 
While on the lake, the British took or destroyed eight 
or ten long-boats engaged in the transportation busi- 
ness, and captured a Durham boat loaded with flour. 

While Colonel Murray was at Plattsburgh he dropped 
a letter from his hat, which was afterwards picked up, 
and found to contain information as to the best mode 
of attack on Plattsburgh, together with a map of the 
encampment and military works at Burlington. A few 
days afterwards the person who wrote the letter, was 
arrested on a charge of high treason, and sent to Albany 
for safe-keeping. 



Plan of the Campaign of 1813 Hampton at Lacolle and Chateaugay 
Colonel Clark at Missisquoi Bay Skirmishes Operations on the 
Lake Dispute between the Vermont volunteers and Governor Chit- 
tenden Failure of the Campaign of 1813 Battle of Lacolle Mill 
British attack the works near Otter Creek -Operations during the 
summer Death of .Colonel Forsyth Izard ordered to the West 
Condition of Affairs after his departure. 

IN July 1813, Major-general James Wilkinson as- 
sumed the command of the Northern Department. 
About the same time, the American Secretary of War, 
Mr. Armstrong, repaired to Sackett's Harbor to super- 
vise the military operations on the Ontario frontier. 
The plan of the Secretary contemplated " a descent 
upon Kingston, and a subsequent movement down the 
St. Lawrence." A large force was also collected at 
Burlington, on Lake Champlain, which was placed 
under the immediate command of Major-general Hamp- 

About the 1st of September, Hampton was directed 
to move towards the British posts on the Richelieu, in 
order to create a diversion in favor of the Western 
Army, and to co-operate, if necessary, with Wilkinson 
in an attack upon Montreal. The American troops, 
numbering about four thousand men, were immediately 
concentrated at Cumberland Head, where they were 
joined by a body of New York Militia, who had been 
called into service by Governor Tompkins. On the 
19th, the infantry and light troops moved from Cum- 
berland Head in boats, flanked on the right by Mac- 
donough's flotilla, and at twelve o'clock at night reached 
Chazy Landing. The next morning they entered the 
Big Chazy river, and disembarked at the foot of the 
rapids, near the village of Champlain, where they were 


joined by a squadron of horse and two companies of 
artillery. The same day the army moved north as far 
as Odelltown, in Canada. Hampton remained one day 
in Canada, when learning that the springs and streams, 
in the direction of the St. Lawrence, had been dried up 
by an unusual drought, he determined to change his 
route and to approach Montreal by the way of the 

On the 21st, the army returned to Champlain, and 
on the evening of the 24th, reached Chateaugay Four 
Corners, where they remained inactive for twenty-six 
days. On the 16th of October, Mr. Armstrong was 
at Sackett's Harbor, debating whether lie should attack 
Kingston, or make an immediate descent upon Mont- 
real. Hampton was ordered to advance to the mouth 
of the Chateaugay River, or to some other convenient 
point on the St. Lawrence, from which an easy and 
direct communication could be opened betwen the two 
armies. In pursuance of this order, he entered Canada 
on the 21st, and the next day encamped on the Chateau- 
gay, at a point about twenty miles below the Four 
Corners. There he remained until the 20th, when he 
planned an expedition against a small body of British 
troops, who were stationed about six miles below. The 
expedition failed, and Hampton returned to the Four 
Corners, with a loss of thirty-five men, in killed and 
wounded. A few days afterwards be broke up his 
camp and returned to Plattsburgh, where the army 
was ordered into winter quarters. 

While the army lay at Chateaugay, Colonel Isaac 
Clark,* who commanded a detachment of troops sta- 
tioned at Champlain Village, was ordered to " com- 
mence a petty war near Lake Champlain." " What 
I am aiming at," writes Hampton, " is tranquillity on 
the road, by kicking up a dust on the lines. "f A bet- 
ter officer than Clark, to accomplish this object, could 

* Colonel Clark served in the Revolutionary war. He was a lieu- 
tenant in Captain Ebenezer Allen's company, and took part in the sur 
prise of Mount Defiance, in September, 1777. 

t Letter to Secretary of War, October 4th, 1813. 


not have been selected. He had served with Herrick's 
Rangers in the Revolution, and was well skilled in 
border warfare. 

On the evening of the llth of October, Clark crossed 
the lake with one hundred and ten men, a part of whom 
belonged to the Rifle corps, and early the next morn- 
ing reached the village of Missisco Bay, where a small 
party of British were stationed, under command of 
Major Powell. Clark placed himself at the head of the 
Rifles, and advanced at double quick time until he met 
the main body of the enemy, who had been hastily 
drawn up near the guard-house. Directing his men to 
halt, he approached the British and ordered them to 
lay down their arms. Major Powell advanced and 
attempted to speak, but Clark sternly ordered him to 
remain silent, and march "to the rear of the American 
line." The boldness of the order, and the confident 
tone in which it was given, induced the Major to 
believe that the Rifles were supported by a large force, 
and he instantly obeyed. Clark ordered his men to 
advance against the main body, who, under command 
of their captain, was preparing to charge. A volley 
from the Riflemen struck down the captain and several 
men, when the rest threw down their arms and sur- 
rendered themselves as prisoners of war. Captain 
Finch was now sent forward to watch a force of two 
hundred British, who were advancing under Colonel 
Lock. Finch proceeded with such promptness and 
secrecy, as to surprise an advance guard of cavalry, 
except one man who escaped and gave information of 
the approach of the Americans, when Colonel Lock 
immediately retreated with the rest of his command. 
The loss to the British, in these attacks, was nine killed 
and fourteen wounded. One hundred and one pris- 
oners were taken by Clark and sent to Burlington. 

During the autumn of this year, a slight skirmishing 
war was carried on between the American and British 
picket-guards, which kept the frontier in a state of 
excitement and alarm, without, however, doing much 
injury to either party. Upon one occasion, about the 


1st of October, a small party of New York militia 
crossed the lines and attacked a picket-guard stationed 
at Odletown, within the district under command of 
Major Perreault of the Canadian detached Volunteers. 
The audacity of this act excited the ire of the Cana- 
dian officer, who, in retaliation, discharged a gasconade 
at the whole town of Champlain. 

" Citizens of Champlain ! " exclaimed the indignant 
Major, "I am happy that humanity should still have so 
much power over me as to inform you that, should any 
of the militia of Champlain be found hovering this side 
of the line, I will let loose upon your village and inhab- 
itants the Canadian and Indian force under my com- 
mand. You are probably aware that it has been with the 
greatest difficulty I have till now withheld them. But 
your cowardly attack at midnight, of a small picket of 
our's, has torn asunder the veil which hid you from 
them so beware ! " This message was enclosed in a 
note to Judge Moore, with a request that he would ac- 
quaint the people with "the tenor of the humane adver- 
tisement." Judge Moore performed his duty, but the 
militia were obdurate. 

As soon as the army had retired into winter quarters, 
Hampton repaired to Washington, leaving General Izard 
in command at Plattsburgh, and General Parker at 
Burlington. Izard was soon afterwards ordered to join 
Wilkinson, who, on Hampton's return to Plattsburgh 
had gone into winter quarters at French Mills. On the 
departure of Izard's brigade, the frontier on the west- 
ern side of the lake was again left unprotected. About 
the middle of December, a strong detachment of British 
troops, under command of Captain Barker of the fron- 
tier light infantry, crossed the lines into Vermont and 
destroyed some public store-houses and barracks which 
had been erected at Derby. This attack, and the threat- 
ening movements of the British forces stationed along 
the Richelieu, induced the magistrates of Plattsburgh 
to address a letter to General Wilkinson, who was then 
at French Mills, in which they represented the exposed 
condition of the public property and their apprehension 


that another invasion might soon be expected, unless 
,1 strong force was stationed on the west side of the lake. 
As soon as Wilkinson received this letter, he ordered 
a company of dragoons to Plattsburgh from Burlington 
and a detachment of infantry from Chateaugay Four 
Corners. The infantry reached Plattsburgh on the 8th 
of January, having made a forced march of forty miles 
that day. Other detachments of troops soon afterwards 
arrived, and on the 10th Wilkinson repaired to Platts- 
burgh in person. The camp at French Mills was bro- 
ken up, and all the magazines and provisions forwarded 
to Lake Champlain. 

The operations on the lake, during the autumn of 
1813, were of little importance. The British flotilla 
remained in the Richelieu, while the American vessels 
rode quietly at anchor on the lake. About the 1st of 
December Macdonough moved to King's Bay and an- 
chored under Point Au Fer. A few days after his 
arrival at that place, Captain Pring entered the lake 
with six armed galleys, landed at Rouse's Point, and 
burned a small shed there, which had been used as a 
public store-house. As soon as Macdonough received 
information of the approach of the British galleys, he 
weighed anchor, and it being calm at the time, at- 
tempted to work out of the bay with sweeps. At the 
same time he sent Lieutenant Cassin forward, with four 
row-galleys, with orders to bring the enemy into ac- 
tion, and thus detain them until the sloops could get 
up. The British, however, refused to engage, and, 
Lieutenant Cassin returned after an unavailing pursuit 
of three miles.* 

Sir George Provost gives a different and erroneous 
account of this trifling affair. In a letter to Earl 
Bathurst, under date of December 12th, he says "A 
division of gun-boats with a detachment of troops, which 
I had ordered, on the 1st of the month, to advance into 
Lake Champlain, for the purpose of molesting General 
Hampton's division, succeeded in burning an extensive 
building lately erected at Plattsburgh, as adepotmaga- 

* Macdonough to Secretary of Navy, December 5th, 1813. 


zine ; some bateaux together with the ammunition, pro- 
visions and stores found in it, were either brought 
away or destroyed. The severity of the weather obliged 
Captain Pring, of the royal navy, under whose command 
I had placed the expedition, to return to Isle Aux Noix 
on the 5th. " Sir George was evidently misinformed as 
to the facts, by the officer in command of the expedition 

The " extensive building lately erected at Plattsburgh 
as a depot magazine," was a small shed near the lake 
shore at Champlain landing, which had formerly been, in 
public use, and the smoke from which gave the first in- 
formation to Macdonough of the enemy's approach. A 
few days after this affair, the ice blocked up the narrow 
channel below Rouse's Point, when Macdonough with- 
drew his vessels, and laid them up for the winter in 
Otter Creek.. 

In November of this year, a dispute arose between 
Governor Chittenden of Vermont and some of the citi- 
zens of that State, involving the right of the militia, 
in certain cases, to pass without the territorial limits 
of their own State. The Governor, in his annual 
message, had taken strong grounds against the war, 
which he considered " doubtful as to its necessity, ex- 
pediency or justice." He also declared that the militia 
\vere exclusively assigned for the service and protection 
of the respective States, except in the cases provided 
for by the National Constitution. That it was never 
intended that they should, " by any kind of magic," be 
at once transformed into a regular army for the purpose 
of foreign conquest, and he regretted that a construction 
should have been given to the Constitution, " so 
peculiarly burdensome and oppressive to that important 
class of our fellow citizens." 

In opposition to these friendly suggestions, a portion 
of the militia, under Lieutenant-colonel Luther Dixon, 
crossed the lake and placed themselves under the orders 
of General Hampton. This movement called forth a 
proclamation from the Governor, in which he ordered 
the militia to return, and hold themselves in readiness 
to act under the orders of Brigadier-General Davis, 


who had been appointed to the command of their brigade. 
" The military strength and resources of the State," 
says Governor Chittenden, " must be reserved for its 
own defence and protection, exclusively, except in cases 
provided for by the Constitution of the United States, 
and then under orders derived only from the Command- 

This proclamation was distributed among the volun- 
teers, who were then stationed at Plattsburgh, and 
created great excitement with both the officers and 
men. The agent, by whom it had been circulated, 
was arrested and held to bail, in a large amount, for his 
appearance before the United States District Court. 
The officers also published a reply to the proclamation, 
in which, in very plain terms, they informed the 
Governor that they should not obey his orders, but 
should remain in service until regularly discharged. 
In this reply they say ; " If it is true, as your Excel- 
lency states, that we are out of the jurisdiction or 
control of the Executive of Vermont, we would ask 
from whence your Excellency derives the right, or pre- 
sumes to exercise the power of ordering us to return 
from the service in which we are engaged ? If we are 
legally ordered into the service of the United States, 
your Excellency must be sensible that you have no 
authority to order us out of that service. If we are 
illegally ordered into the service, our continuance in it 
is either voluntary or compulsory. If voluntary, it 
gives no one a right to remonstrate or complain ; if 
compulsory, we can appeal to the laws of our coun- 
try for redress against those who illegally restrain us 
of our liberty. In either case we cannot perceive the 
right your Excellency has to interfere in the business." 
This was pretty sharp firing, and effectually silenced 
the Governor's batteries. The brigade remained at 
Plattsburgh, until it became known that the contem- 
plated invasion of Canada had been abandoned for the 
winter, when the volunteers returned to Vermont, and 
probably put themselves " under the command of 
Brigadier-general Davis." 


The campaign of 1813 was directed towards the im- 
portant military posts on Lake Ontario and the St. 
Lawrence river. It commenced with bright prospects 
of success, but failed through the imbecility of the 
officers who had been called to the head of the army. 
The people were deeply disappointed at the result. 
They had placed great confidence in their commanding 
Generals, whose numerous dispatches were written in 
lofty style, and were filled with predictions of most 
brilliant victories. " I am destined to and determined 
on the attack of Montreal, if not prevented by some 
act of God," cries Wilkinson, on the 6th of November, 
from the head of an army of 8000 men.* " The Rubi- 
con is now passed, and air that remains is to push for- 
ward to the Capitol," is the bold declaration of .Hamp- 
ton.f Vain and empty boasting. Two weeks later, 
the one was quietly settled at Plattsburgh, and the 
other was building winter quarters at French Mills and 

The campaign of 1813 is closed. General Wilkinson 
attributed its failure to the refusal of Hampton to join 
him at St. Regis, on the St. Lawrence. He declared 
that by a junction of the two armies he could have se- 
cured Montreal in eight or ten days. " It is a fact," 
he writes the Secretary of War, " for which I am 
authorized to pledge myself on the most confidential 
authority, that on the 4th of the present month 
[November,] the British garrison of Montreal consisted 
solely of four hundred marines and two hundred sailors, 
which had been sent up from Quebec. What a golden, 
glorious opportunity has been lost by the caprice of 
Major General Hampton.''^ 

General Hampton, on the contrary, censured Wilkin- 
son for desiring a junction of the two armies, with the 
scanty supply of provisions within reach of St. Regis. 
He contended that to have moved forward, with the 

* Letter to General Hampton, 
t Letter to Secretary of War, Nov. 12. 

J A " glorious opportunity" indeed, for two large armies to capture 
six hundred men ! 


4000 troops under his command, would have seriously 
weakened, if it did not destroy both armies. That his 
true course was to throw himself upon his main depots 
at Plattsburgh, and from that point to open a communi- 
cation direct to Caughnawaga ; which would relieve 
the western army, and at the same time retain all the 
benefits to be expected from a junction at St. Regis.* 

In December General Hampton was withdrawn from 
the frontier, but General Wilkinson retained his com- 
mand until after the unsuccessful attack upon a grist- 
mill in Lacolle, when he too was ordered to Head 
Quarters. The assault on the Lacolle mill was made 
on the 30th of March, 1814. About the first of that 
month Major Forsyth had been sent to the lines, near 
Champlain, with 300 Riflemen and 60 Dragoons to pro- 
tect the frontier, and to break up an illicit intercourse 
which had been carried on with the enemy during the 
winter. Detachments had also been sent to the Ver- 
mont frontier, under command of General Macomb and 
Colonel Clark, for a similar purpose. About the same 
time General Wilkinson examined the country around 
Rouse's Point, with a view to the erection of batteries 
there, which should command the outlet of the lake, and 
blockade the British flotilla within the Richelieu. 

These movements alarmed the British, who hastened 
to strengthen their military posts in the vicinity of 
Rouse's Point. Major Hancock, of the 13th, occupied 
Lacolle with six hundred men, and the forts at St 
Johns and Isle Aux Noix were garrisoned by about two 
thousand men, under command of Lieutenant-colonel 
Williams of the same regiment. When Wilkinson 
learned that the British force near the lines had been 
increased, he ordered the troops stationed at Plattsburgh 
to be advanced to Champlain, where he also directed 
Macomb and Clark to concentrate their respective 

* About one month prior to this time, Hampton attempted this 
very route, and backed out before lie had penetrated four miles into 
Canada. Referring to the dispatches of the two northern Command- 
ers, Mr. Niles, in his Register, exclaims. ' The cacoethes scribendi 
again rages with singular violence in the army, with symptoms fatal 
to gallons of ink and hundreds of goose quills! " 


commands. On the 29th of March, four thousand men 
were collected at Champlain, of whom 100 were cavalry 
and 304 artillerists. The latter had with them eleven 
pieces of cannon of small calibre. Wilkinson now 
planned an attack against Major Hancock, who occu- 
pied a grist-mill on the banks of the Lacolle river, 
about five miles north of the lines. 

On the morning of the 30th, the American army 
marched out of Champlain,upon the Odelltown road. The 
advance guard was composed of the Rifles under Mfijor 
Forsyth, and the 30th and 31st and part of the llth 
infantry, under Colonel Clark ; in all about 600 men. 
They were followed by two corps of infantry, under 
Brigadier-generals Bissell and Smith. A reserve of 
800 men under General Macomb, brought up the rear. 
The roads at this time were obstructed by fallen trees 
and by heavy drifts of snow, and were nearly impass- 
able for artillery. The guides, too, were ignorant 
of the country, and led the army off from the main road 
into a very narrow and crooked winter path, leading from 
Odelltown to Lacolle. On the way to Lacolle, Bissell's 
corps was attacked by and after a short skirmish repulsed 
a party of Canadian militia, who had been stationed as 
a picket on the main road at Odelltown. 

The Lacolle mill, against which the Americans were 
now advancing, was a strong stone buildiug. The walls 
had been braced on the inside with heavy timbers, the 
windows closed up and port holes made in every direc- 
tion, for the fire of musketry, A small clearing, of from 
one to two hundred yards in width on each side of the 
river, surrounded the mill. The woods adjacent were of 
small growth but very thick. The river, at the mill was 
frozen over, but below it was open to its mouth. The 
Richelieu was also open from the mouth of the Lacolle 
to Isle Aux Noix, 

The American troops did not reach the ground until 
between one and two o'clock in the afternoon, when a 
portion of Bissell's brigade took a position to the south 
of the building and commenced the attack, which, for 
the first half-hour, was confined to a fire of musketry. 


Major McPherson then brought up a twelve-pounder, 
which he planted about two hundred and fifty yards to 
the south of the mill. With this gun a brisk but inef- 
fectual fire was directed against the rear of the building, 
and afterwards against the side wall. 

When it was ascertained that the gun was too light to 
break down the walls, orders were given to bring up an 
eighteen pounder, but its carriage had broken down, 
three miles back, and could not be repaired in time to be 
of service during the day. The cannonade upon the 
mill was returned by a brisk discharge of musketry, 
which was kept up during the whole attack, but did little 
damage, as the American troops were posted out of 
range of the fire. In the course of the afternoon, an un- 
successful assault was made upon a detachment of 
Americans who guarded the north banks of the La- 
colle, by two companies of the 13th regiment, sent from 
Isle Aux Noix to reinforce the garrison in the mill. 
While these companies were engaged a sortie was made 
against the centre of the American line. The attack 
was executed with great gallantry but did not succeed, 
although the artillery were driven from the gun, which 
would have been captured, had not a portion of General 
Bissell's brigade been sent to its rescue. A short time 
afterwards, another attack was made upon the gun 
by a grenadier company of the Canadian Fencibles 
and a company of voltigeurs, who had followed the 
movement of the troops from the Odelltown 
road. This attack was also unsuccessful. The two 
companies, however, succeded in gaining a block 
house which stood below the mill. The loss of the 
Americans in these attacks was 104 killed and wound- 
ed, while that of the British was reported by them at 
10 killed and 46 wounded. Among the wounded on 
the side of the Americans were Captain McPherson 
and Lieutenant Larabee of the Artillery ; Lieutenants 
Green and Parker of the Infantry and Lieutenant Kerr 
of the Rifles. Lieutenant Parker was struck by a 
random shot. He survived his wounds for several 
days, and expressed a most sincere regret that he had 


not fallen in close action : " Hard is my lot," he ex- 
claimed, " that I should have received this wound at 
such a distance from the enemy, and where I was 
wholly inactive." Captain McPherson, on the contrary, 
was wounded while fighting at the head of his men, 
and, at the time, was not expected to recover. As 
they were bearing him from the field, several officers 
offered their personal services to carry him to Platte- 
burgh. The gallant captain paused a few moments 
and then, thanking them for the interest and regard 
they had manifested, added, "Lsliall be sufficiently hon- 
ored when you bear me to my grave." The same spirit of 
firmness was shown by the other officers, and by the 
wounded and bleeding privates. Lieut. Larabee, when 
some persons were pitying his misfortune, as he was 
passing to the rear of the field,, exclaimed, " Have you 
never seen a man die ! " A private, on receiving sim- 
ilar sympathy, cried, " never mind it, III give them 
another fight." Another private, when struck down, 
cried out, " Give it to them, my boys, never flinch." 

At the commencement of the assault a few cannon 
shots and several rockets were fired from a sloop, and 
from some gun-boats lying in the river below, but the 
fire was not continued, as it was soon ascertained 
that the American troops were perfectly protected by 
the intervening ground.* About sundown Wilkinson 
called in the detachments which had been sent to the 
north side of the river, and shortly afterwards retired 
with the whole army to Odelltown. The next day he 
returned to Champlain. From this place General 
Macomb was sent to Burlington, while the main army 
fell back upon Chazy and Plattsburgh, to protect the 
military stores at the latter place. f 

* Late in the day Lieutenant Creswick, of the Royal Navy, suc- 
ceeded in landing two field pieces and getting them to the block- 
house, but they were not fired during the engagement. 

t This account of the affair at Lacolle is derived from the testi- 
mony of Bissell, Macomb,Clark,Totten, McPherson and others before 
the Court-martial, on the trial of General Wilkinson, in January, 
1815, and from the official report of Adjutant-general Baynes of the 
British army, 


On the 9th of May, Captain Pring of the British 
navy ascended the Richelieu in the brig Linnet, ac- 
companied by five sloops and thirteen row-galle} r s, and 
the next day came to anchor under Providence Island,* 
where he remained until the evening of the 13th. 
Macdonough was at this time at Vergennes, on Otter 
Creek, busily engaged in fitting out the American 
fleet, which lay at that place. As soon as he was in- 
formed that the British flotilla had entered the lake, 
he ordered Lieutenant Cassin, with a small party of 
sailors, to reinforce Captain Thornton, who had been 
sent from Burlington with a detachment of light artil- 
lery to man a battery which had been erected at the 
mouth of Otter Creek. A brigade of the Vermont 
Militia were also ordered out, and were advantage- 
ously posted to oppose the enemy, in case he should 
attempt to land. 

At day-break on the morning of the 14th, eight of 
the British galleys and a bomb sloop anchored off the 
mouth of Otter Creek and commenced a warm fire 
upon the battery, which was promptly returned. A 
brisk cannonade was kept up by both parties for one 
hour and a half, when the attack was abandoned. 

After this repulse the galleys entered the Bouquet 
River, and ascended that stream for the purpose of 
seizing some Government flour, which had been de- 
posited in the grist-mill at the Falls. On their return, 
the boats were fired into by a company of militia who 
had hastily collected on the south bank of the river 
near its mouth. This fire killed or wounded nearly all 
the men in the rear galley. The boat afterwards drift- 
ed into the lake, and was towed off by small boats sent 
to its assistance. The galleys then joined the brig 
and the three sloops, which, during the attack on the 
battery, had remained at anchor near the " Four- 
Brothers. On the 16th Captain Pring returned to Isle 
Aux Noix. A few days afterwards Macdonough 

* This is one of the small islands lying uear the south end of Grand 
Island, opposite Valcour. 


brought his fleet out of Otter Creek, and on the 29th 
cast anchor in Cumberland Bay, off Pittsburgh. 

During the summer, the British and Americans were 
actively engaged in strengthening their positions along 
the Champlain frontier. Large reinforcements joined 
the army at Plattsburgh, while the garrisons at Cham- 
bly, St. Johns and Isle Aux Noix were increased by de- 
tachments of troops drawn from Montreal and Quebec. 
Major General Izard,* who had succeeded to the com- 
mand on the withdrawal of Wilkinson, was directed to 
erect a heavy battery at Rouse's Point, to guard the en- 
trance from the Richelieu into the lake. Considering 
the occupation of that point hazardous, from its prox- 
imity to the enemy's posts at Lacolle and Isle Aux 
Noix, he objected to erecting works there, and instead, 
caused a battery of four eighteen pounders and a large 
redoubt to be constructed on Cumberland Head.f* 

On the llth of June, a light brigade, under command 
of General Smith, Forsyth's regiment of Riflemen, and 
two companies of Artillery were encamped near the 
mouth of Dead Creek, about two miles north of the vil- 
lage of Plattsburgh. These troops advanced as far as 
Chazy on the 17th, and on the 27th occupied the vil- 
lage of Champlain. Smith's brigade was 1400 strong. 
At the latter date, Colonel Pierce, of the 13th Regiment, 
was at Chazy with 800 men, and about 1200 men occupied 
the works on Cumberland Head, at Dead Creek and in 
the village of Plattsburgh. Macdonough's fleet lay at 
anchor in King's Bay. The British then held Lacolle 
with a force of 3600 men. They also had strong gar- 
risons at Isle Aux Noix and St. Johns. Muron's reg- 
iment, 1000 strong, was at L'Acadie, two brigades of 

George Izard was born in South Carolina. In 1794 he was ap- 
pointed fieutenant of artillery and had charge of the fortification m 
Charleston harbor in 1798. He was appointed colonel of artillery in 
March, 1812 ; was made a brigadier-general in 1813, and a major- 
general in 1814. He was Governor of the Territory of Arkansas from 
1825 until his death in 1828. 

t The works on Cumberland Head were commenced in opposition to 
the views of Colonel Totten, who considered they would not impede or 
materially injure a passing fleet. They proved useless, and were aban- 
doned on the first approach of the British. 


artillery and 300 cavalry at Chambly, and 2000 reg- 
ulars at Montreal. Their fleet lay at Isle Aux Tetes. 

On the 24th of June, Lieutenant Colonel Forsyth, 
with 70 of his Riflemen, penetrated into Canada, as far 
as Odelltown, where he was attacked by a detachment 
of two hundred British light troops. Forsyth returned 
to Champlain, with the loss of one killed and five 
wounded. A few days afterwards, he was ordered 
again to enter Canada, for the purpose of drawing the 
British across the lines, into an ambuscade. He ad- 
vanced a few men on the main road leading to Odell- 
town, who soon met a party of the enemy, when they 
retreated, closely pursued by about one hundred and 
fifty Canadians and Indians, under command of Cap- 
tain Mahew, until they reached a point about half a 
mile south of the lines, where the main body of the 
Rifles lay concealed. As the enemy approached the am- 
buscade, Colonel Forsyth stepped upon a log to watch 
their movements. He had scarcely taken this exposed 
position, when he was shot down by an Indian ; the 
ball passing through his breast. The Rifles immediately 
uncovered and fired upon the enemy, who retreated 
in great haste, leaving seventeen of their number dead 
upon the field.* 

A few days afterwards, Captain Nelson, of the 10th 
Infantry, crossed into Canada with a small detachment 
surprised a British picket in Odelltown, took some of 
them prisoners and put the rest to flight. Skirmishes 
were very frequent along the borders, during the 
months of July and August, although seldom attended 
with any considerable loss to either side. 

On the 31st of July, Macomb's brigade, consisting of 
the 6th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 29th regiments, set out in 
boats from Cumberland Head for Chazy Landing. The 
same day Bissell's brigade, of the 5th, 14th, 30th, 31st, 

* Forsyth was the best partisan officer in the army. His men de- 
clared that they would avenge his death, and a few days after crossed 
the lines and shot Captain Mahew, who commanded the Canadians and 
Indians at the time of Forsyth's death. Captain Mahew was taken to 
the residence of Judge Moore in Champlain, where he lingered about a 
week and died. 


33d, 34th and 45th regiments, started for Chazy In- 
land. This movement placed three brigades, in ail 
4,500 strong, at and in rear of the village of Champlain. 
The invalids and 200 effectives of Macomb's brigade 
were left behind to finish the works at Cumberland 
Head, and a working party of about 400 strong, of 
Bissell's brigade, was left at Plattsburgh under Colonel 
Fenwick, to complete three redoubts which had been 
commenced near that village. 

In the month of August, Sir George Provost repaired 
to the Isle Aux Noix, where he had concentrated a 
large body of men, including several veteran regiments 
who had lately distinguished themselves on the banks 
of the Adour and the Garonne. Everything now in- 
dicated that a battle was soon to be fought on the 
Champlain frontier, which would decide the fate of the 
campaign and the control of the whole country border- 
ing on the lake. It was at this moment that the 
Government determined to remove the troops from 
Lake Champlain, and to abandon the large amount of 
military stores and provisions collected at Plattsburgh, 
the lives and property of its citizens, and the great 
military key of the northern and eastern States, to the 
protection of a few raw, worn-out, sick or disabled 
men. This strange movement evinced a reckless in- 
difference on the part of the Government as to the 
result of the war in this quarter.* 

General Izard strongly protested against the removal 
of the troops, and repeatedly represented to the war 
department the fatal results that might be expected 

* It has been asserted, in certain quarters, that the authorities at 
Washington never intended a real invasion of Canada, for fear that the 
reduction of Montreal and other important points upon the St. Law- 
rence might ultimately lead to annexation, and to a consequent increase 
of political power, north of Mason s and Dixon's line. While old and 
superannuated Generals commanded on this frontier, they were al- 
lowed, ad libitum, to lead their armies to and fro along the outskirts 
of Canada, but the moment a fighting man, with the regular snap of 
war in Him, was found to be in command, the army was broken up 
and its best fragments sent to aid in some distant operations, where 
the most triumphant success could not endanger the cities of Mont- 
real and Quebec, which were justly considered as the keys of the 
British Provinces, 


from such a movement. As late as the 20th of August, 
he writes the Secretary of War as follows : * 4 1 must 
not be responsible for the consequences of abandoning 
my present strong position. I will obey orders and 
execute them as well as I know how. Major-General 
Brisbane commands at Odelltown ; he is said to have 
between five and six thousand men with him. Those 
at Chambly are stated to be about four thousand." On 
the 23d he again writes that he has decided to move 
west, by way of Lake George and Schenectady, with 
4,000 men, leaving the sick and convalescents and 
about 1,200 men to garrison Plattsburgh and Cumber- 
land Head, under command of Brigadier-general 

Receiving no counter orders, Izard, on the 29th of 

August, left Champlain and Chazy with the 4th, 5th, 

10th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 45th Infantry, 

the light artillery armed as infantry, and the dragoons, 

and slowly and reluctantly moved towards the west. 

On the 3a of September his corps reached Luke George, 

[where they remained two days, anxiously expecting 

\orders to return to Plattsburgh. No such Gruel's ai- 

rived, and Iz;iroTagain put his column in motion. On 

the 7th he reached Schenectady, from which place he 

urged on more rapidly towards the west. 

As soon as Izard left, General Macomb concentrated 
his whole force at Plattsburgh, where he commenced 
immediate preparations to resist an attack. From the 
returns of the 28th of August it appears that on 
that day he had the following troops within the limits 
of his command : 

* Alexander Macomb was born in Detroit, Michigan, April 13, 1782, 
He entered the army as a cornet of cavalry in 1799, and at the com- 
mencement of the war of 1812 held the rank of lieutenant-colonel of 
engineers and adjutant-general of the army. In 1813, at his own re- 
quest, he was appointed colonel of the 3rd regiment of artillery, and in 
January, 1814, placed in command of the Lake Champlain frontier. For 
his firmness and courage at the battle of Plattsburgh he was commis 
sioned a major-general. On the disbandment of the army he was re 
tained in the service as colonel of engineers, and, on the death of Major 
General Brown in 1835, succeeded to the office of commander-in-chief 
of the army. He died at Washington, June 25, 1841. 


Detachments of the regiments and corps that 

marched 77 

Capt. Leonard's company of Light Artillery. . 100 
Capt. McGlassin's company, 15th Regt. . I . 50 
The 6tfr, 29th, 30th, 31st, 33<1 and 34th regi- 
ments, reported from the aggregate present 

on the 31st July 1771 

Capt. Sproul's detachment of 13th Regt. . . 200 
Sick and invalids of the regiments and corps 
that left 803 

Aggregate 3001 

There were two veteran companies of artillery under 
Captain Alexander Brooks, which were omitted in the 
return. Two hundred and fifty infantry were also on 
board the fleet, doing duty as marines. This brought 
the whole force to about 3400 men, of whom over 1400 
were invalids or non combatants.* With this force 
Macomb prepared to resist the advance of fourteen 
thousand veteran British soldiers. 

* General Macomb in his detailed report of the battle of Platts- 
burgh says, " Except the four companies of the 6th regiment I had 
not an organized battalion among those remaining; the garrison was 
composed of convalescents and the recruits of the new regiments 
all in the greatest confusion, as well as the ordinance and stores; and 
the works in no state of defense." 



Sir George Provost invades the United States Preparations at 
Plattsburgh to resist his advance Description of the American 
Forts, etc. The British encamp at Chazy Battle of Beekman- 
town Provost's position on the north banks of the Saranac Cap- 
tain McGlassin attacks a British battery American and British 
force on the lake Naval engagement off Plattsbargh Battle of 
Plattsburgh Provost retreats to Canada The Peace. 

GENERAL IZARD abandoned the camp at Champlain 
on the 29th of August, and the next day Major-general 
Brisbane advanced his division from Odelltown to that 
place. On the 3d of September, fourteen thousand 
British troops were collected at Champlain. This force 
was composed of four troops of the 19th light dragoons, 
300 men ; two companies Royal Artillery, 400 men ; 
one brigade of rocketeers, twenty-five men ; one brigade 
Royal Sappers and Miners, seventy -five men ; the first 
brigade of infantry, consisting of the first battalion of 
the 27th regiment, the 58th and 5th, and the 3rd or 
Buffs, in all 3,700 men, under command of Major-gen- 
eral Robinson ; the second brigade, formed by the 88th 
and 39th, and the 3d battalions of the 27th and 76th, 
in all 3,600 men, under Major-general Powers ; the 
third brigade, composed of the second battalion of the 
8th or King's, and the 18th, 49th and 6th, 3,100 men, 
under Major-general Brisbane. There was also a light 
brigade 2,800 strong, composed of Muron's Swiss regi- 
ment ; the Canadian Chasseurs, the Voltigeurs and the 
frontier light infantry. The whole was under Sir 
George Provost, Governor-general of Canada ; Lieu- 
tenant-general De Rottenburgh being second in com- 

On the 4th, the main body reached Chazy village, 
and the next night, encamped near Sampson's about 
eight miles from the village of Plattsburgh. At the 


same time Captain Pring, witli a number of gun-boats, 
moved up the lake as far as Lsle La Motte, and erected 
a battery of three long 18 pounders on the west side of 
that island, to cover the landing of the supplies for the 

Brigadier-general Macomb was now at Plattsburgh 
actively engaged in preparations to resist the expected 
attack. On the 3d of September, lie issued a general 
order detailing his plan of defence. " The troops (says 
this order) will line the parapet in two ranks, leav- 
ing intervals for the artillery. A reserve of one fifth 
of the whole force in infantry, will be detailed and 
paraded fronting the several angles, which it will be 
their particular duty to sustain. To each bastion are 
to be assigned, by the several commanders of forts, a 
sufficient number of infantry to line all the faces (in 
single rank) of each tier. Should the enemy gain the 
ditch, the front rank of the part assailed will mount 
the parapet and repel him with its fire and bayonet. 
If the men of this rank are determined, no human force 
can dispossess them of that position." 

The American works were built upon an elevated 
plain, lying between the banks of the river Saranac 
and Lake Champlain. The river descends from the 
west until it approaches within about one hundred and 
sixty rods of the lake, and then turns towards the north 
and runs about one mile, in a northeasterly direction, 
to the lake. The land between the river and lake, at 
this point, is nearly in the shape of a right angled tri- 
angle; the perpendicular being formed by the lake 
shore. About eighty rods above the mouth of the river, 
and near the centre of the village, is the " lower bridge," 
and about one mile higher up, following the course of 
the stream, was another bridge, on the road leading 
south to Salmon River, called the " upper bridge." One 
mile and a half above this bridge is a ford of the river.* 
The stream can also be forded at the bridges, and at 

* This ford is near where General Pike encamped in 1812. The 
buildings were burued by Colonel Murray in 1813. 


a point about midway between them. The south bank of 
the river, above the village, is from fifty to sixty feet 
high, and steep. About sixty rods above the " lower 
bridge " is a deep ravine, running back from the 
river and extending nearly to -the lake shore. The 
principal work, called Fort Moreau, stood opposite 
the bend of the river, and about half way between it 
and the lake. It was three fourths of a mile south of the 
lower bridge. A redoubt, called Fort Brown, stood 
on the bank of the river, directly opposite the bend, 
and about fifty rods west of Fort Moreau. There \\as 
another redoubt to the east of Fort Moreau, near the 
bank of the lake, called Fort Scott. On the point, near 
the mouth of the river, was a block-house and battery. 
Another block-house stood on the south side of the ra- 
vine, about half way between the river and the lake. 
The defense of Fort Moreau was entrusted to Colonel 
Melancton Smith, who had for its garrison the 29th 
and 6th Regiments.* Lieutenant-colonel Storrs was 
stationed in Fort Brown, with detachments of the 30th 
and 31st, and Major Vinson in Fort Scott, with the 33d 
and 34th. The block-house, near the ravine, was en- 
trusted to J2a4ilaiil^mith_ofUie Rifles, and had for its de- 
fence a part of his company^tmi^OfTlie convalescents 
of one of the absent regiments. The block-house on 
the point was garrisoned by a detachment of artillery, 
under Lieutenant Fowler. The light artillery were or- 
dered to take such positions as would best annoy the 
enemy. When not employed they were to take post in 
the ravine, with the light troops. 

As soon as the British had advanced to Chazy village, 
Captain Sproul was ordered by General Macomb, with 
two hundred men, of the 13th, and two field pieces, to 
take position near the Dead Creek bridge, and to abattis 

* Colonel Melancton Smith was a son of Judge Melancton Smith, 
brother ot Captain Sidney Smith, U. S. Navy, and the father of Rear 
Admiral Melancton Smith. He was born in 1780. On the increase of 
the military establibhment during the war, he was appointed a colonel 
and assigned to the command of the 2gti\ regiment U. S. Infantry. He 
held that rank until the army was reduced after the peace. He died at 
Plattsburgh, 28th August, 1818, and was buried at that place with mili- 
tary and masonic honors. 


the road beyond, while Lieutenant-colonel Appling 
was stationed in advance, with one hundred and ten 
riflemen, and a troop of New York State cavalry, under 
Captain Stafford and Lieutenant M. M. Standish, to 
watch the movements of the enemy. Macomb also made 
arrangements with Major-general Mooers for calling 
out the New York Militia, and addressed a letter to 
Governor Chittenden, of Vermont, requesting aid from 
that State. On the 4th, seven hundred of the Clinton 
and Essex Militia had collected at Plattsburgh.* They 
were advanced the next day about five miles on the 
north road, and lay during the night in the vicinity 
of the present stone church in Beekmantown. The 
militia were directed to watch the enemy, skirmish with 
him as he advanced, breiik up the bridges and obstruct 
the road with fallen trees. 

On the 5th, as we have already stated, the British 
occupied a possition near Sampson's on the lake road. 
The troops were there divided into two columns, and 
moved towards the village of Plattsburgh on the morn- 
ing of the 6th, before day-light ; the right column crossed 
over to the Beekmantown road ; the left followed the 
road leading to the Dead Creek bridge. The right 
column was composed of Major-general Powers' bri- 
gade, supported by four companies of light infantry and 
a demi-brigade under Major General Robinson. The 
left was led by Major General Brisbane's brigade. In- 
formation of this contemplated movement having 
reached General Macomb on the evening of the 5th^ 
he ordered Major Wool, with a detachment of two 
hundred and fifty men, to advance on the Beekmantown 
road to the support of the militia. Captain Leonard, 
of the light artillery, was also directed to be on the 
ground, before day-light, with two field pieces. 

The right column of the British advanced more 
rapidly than the left, and, at an early hour, met 
Major Wool's detachment and the militia, who had 
taken a position near the residence of Ira Howe, in 

* These belonged to Colonel Thomas Miller's and Colonel Joiner's 
regiments, Major Sanford's battalion and the 37th regiment. 


Beekmantown. Wool's party opened a brisk fire of 
musketry upon the head of the British column as it 
approached, severely wounding Lieutenant West of 
the 3d Buffs, and about twenty privates. Near this 
place Goodspeed and Jay, two men of Captain At wood's 
company of militia, were wounded and taken prisoners. 
Wool, with his men, now fell back as far as Culver's 
Hill, four and a half miles from the village, where he 
awaited the approach of the British. He was supported 
by a few of the militia who had been rallied by their 
officers, but the greater portion had retreated precipi- 
tately, after the first fire near Howe's. The resistance 
at Culver's Hill was intrepid, but momentary, for the 
British troops pressed firmly forward, occupying the 
whole road, and only returning their fire by their flanks 
and leading platoons, the latter of whom were once 
driven to the base of the hill, after having reached its 
summit. At this point, Lieutenant Colonel Willing- 
ton, of the 3d Buffs, fell as he was ascending the hill 
at the head of his regiment. Ensign Chapman of the 
same regiment was also killed there, and Captain 
Westropp, of the 58th, severely wounded. Several of 
the Americans were killed, including Patridge of the 
Essex militia. 

Learning that a large body of the British were advanc- 
ing on a parallel road, leading from Beekmantown 
Corners, to gain his rear, Wool fell back as far as 
" Halsey's Corners," about one and a half miles from 
the village bridge. He was there joined, about eight 
o'clock in the morning, by Captain Leonard with two 
pieces of light artillery. Leonard placed his guns in 
battery at an angle in the road, masked by Wool's 
infantry and a small body of militia, and as the British 
approached opened a most galling fire upon the head of 
the column ; the balls cutting a narrow and bloody 
lane through the moving mass. Three times were the 
guns discharged, but even this terrible fire did not 
check the progress of the column, for the men, throwing 
aside their knapsacks, pressed forward, the bugles 
sounding the charge, and forced Leonard hastily to 


withdraw towards the village. At this place, a num- 
ber of the British were killed or wounded. Among 
the latter was Lieutenant Kingsbury of the 3d Buffs, 
who was taken into the adjoining farm-house of Isaac 
C. Platt, Esqr., where he soon afterwards died.* 

Finding that the enemy's right column was steadily 
approaching the village, General Macomb ordered in 
the detachments at Dead Creek; at the same time 

on the 

The rapid advance of the column on 
the Beekmantown road had reversed Appling's position, 
and he had barely time to save his retreat, coming in a 
few rods ahead, as the British debouched from the 
woods a little north of the village. Here he poured in 
a destructive fire from his riflemen at rest, and con- 
tinued to annoy the enemy, until lie formed a junction 
with Wool, who was slowly retiring towards the lower 
bridge. The field pieces were taken across the bridge 
and formed a battery for its protection, and to cover 
the retreat of Wool's, Appling's, and Sproul's men. 
These detachments retired alternately, keeping up a 
brisk fire until they got under cover of the works. 

The left column of the British army did not arrive 
near the village, until after Spronl's and Appling's de- 
tachments had been withdrawn ; their march having 
been retarded by the obstructions placed in the road, 
and by the removal of the bridge at Dead Creek. As 
this column passed along the beach of the lake, it was 
much annoyed by a brisk fire from several galleys, 
which Macdonough had ordered to the head of the bay. 
After this fire had continued for about two hours, the 
wind began to blow so heavy from the south as to en- 
danger the safety of the galleys. Mr. Duncan, a mid- 
shipman of the Saratoga, was therefore sent in a gig to 
order them to return. As that officer approached, he 
received a severe wound from the enemy's fire, which 

* Lieutenant Kingsbury was buried in Mr. Platt's garden. His re- 
mains were removed to the village cemetery in May, 1844, by Captain 
C. A. Waite, then in command at Pittsburgh barracks. 

September, 1814. 


for a few minutes was concentrated upon his boat.* 
About this time one of the galleys drifted under the 
guns of the British and sustained some loss, but was 
eventually brought off. 

As soon as the American troops had crossed the river, 
the planks were removed from the lower bridge, ami 
were piled up at its east end, to form a breast-work for 
the infantry. A similar breast-work was made by the 
militia, at the upper bridge. The British light troops 
made several attempts, in the course of the day, to 
cross at the village, but were repulsed by the guards at 
the bridge, and by the sharp fire of a company of volun- 
teers who had taken possession of a stone grist-mill 
near by.f An attemnt was also made to cross at the 
upper bridge, which was gallantly resisted by the 
militia. The loss this day, on both sides, was greater 
than the whole loss during the rest of the siege; forty- 
five of the Americans, and more than two hundred 
British having been killed or wounded. $ 

The configuration of the land, on the north side ^f 
the river, differs somewhat from that on the south side. 
The bank at the mouth of the river is abrupt and about 
thirty feet high. This bank, with a depression above 
the lower bridge, opposite the mill pond, follows the 
margin of the stream, until within about eighty rods of 
Fort Brown, when the hill recedes from the river, and 

* On the 26th of May, 1826, Congress passed a resolution of thanks 
to Midshipman Silas Duncan for his gallant conduct on this occasion. 

t This company was called " Aiken's Volunteers" and was composed 
of the following young men none of whom were old enough to be liable 
to perform military duty : Martin J. Aikcn, Azariah C. Flagg, Ira A. 
Wood, Gustavus A. Bird, James Trowbridgc, Hazen Mooers, Henry K. 
Avcrill, St. John B. L. Skinner, Frederick P. Allen, Hiram Walworth, 
Ethan Everest, Amos Soper, James Patten, Bartcmus Brooks, Smith 
Batemcn, Melancton W. Travis and Flavius Williams. They had been 
out on the Beekmantown road in the morning, where they behaved with 
great gallantry. In May, 1826, Congress authorized the President to 
cause to be delivered to each, "One rifle promised to them by General 
Macomh, while commanding the Champlam department, for their gal- 
lantry and patriotic services as a volunteer corps, during the siege of 
Plattsburgh in September, 1814." 

| General Macomb, in his general order of the 7th, estimates the Brit- 
ish loss at from two to three hundred. The "Burlington Sentinel" of 
the 9th states it to have been about three hundred. 


is less abrupt. The flat and hill opposite Fort Brown 
were covered with small trees and bushes. About one 
mile back from the river is an elevated ridge run- 
ning to the north. At Allen's farm-house, which stood 
upon this ridge at the distance of about one and one- 
fourth mile from the American forts, Sir George Pro- 
vost established his head-quarters. The army were 
encamped upon the ridge, and on the high ground north 
of the village. 

From the 7th to the 10th, Provost was busily engag- 
ed in bringing up his battering trains and supplies, and 
in preparing his approaches. He erected a battery on 
the bank of the lake north of the mouth of the river ; 
another near the edge of the steep bank above the mill- 
pond ; another near the burial ground, and one, supplied 
with rocket works, on the hill opposite Fort Brown. 
Besides these, there were three smaller batteries erect- 
ed at other points within range of the American 

While Provost was thus engaged, the American troops 
were diligently at work, day and night, in strengthen- 
ing their defences. The barracks and hospitals in the 
vicinity of the forts were burned, and the sick removed 
to Crab Island, about two miles distant, where they 
were protected from the weather by tents. A small bat- 
tery was erected on that island, mounting two six 
pounders, which was manned by convalescents. The 
Americans also, during this time, fired hot shot into 
and burned some fifteen or sixteen buildings, on the 
north side of the river, which had afforded protection to 
the British light troops.* 

From the 7th to the 10th, the pickets and militia 
were engaged in frequent skirmishes with the enemy at 
the two bridges, and at the different fords along the 

* The " Burlington Sentinel " says that up to the evening of the 8th, 
the following buildings had been burned : John Griffin's house and 
store, Roswell Wait's house and store, Mr. Savage's house, B. Buck's 
house, Mr. Powers' store, Widow Beaumont's house and store, Charles 
Backus' house and store, Joseph Thomas' two stores and Mr. Gold- 
smith's house. The court house and jail were also burned. 


river. On the morning of the 7th, a party of British, 
under Captain Noadie, attempted to cross the river, at a 
ford about five miles west of the village. They were, 
however, met by a company of Colonel Miller's regi- 
ment of militia, under command of Captain Vaughan, 
arid were repulsed with a loss of two killed and several 
wounded. The same day Lieutenant Runk, of the 6th, 
was mortally wounded, as he was passing in the street, 
near the present dwelling of A. C. Moore, Esq. 

On the night of the 9th, while the British were en- 
gaged in erecting their rocket battery near Fort Brown, 
Captain McGlassin of the 15th Infantry, obtained per- 
mission from General Macomb to take a party of fifty 
men and attack a detachment of British troops at work 
upon the battery. The night was dark and stormy and 
favored such an enterprise. Ordering his men to take 
the flints from their muskets, McGlassin crossed the 
river, and passing through a small clump of dwarf oaks, 
reached, unobserved, the foot of the hill upon which the 
enemy were at work. There he divided his force into 
two parties, one of which was sent, by a circuitous route, 
to the rear of the battery. As soon as this party had 
reached its position, McGlassin, in a loud voice, ordered 
his men to charge " on the front and rear," when they 
rushed forward, with all the noise it was possible for 
them to make, and entered the work at both sides on 
the run. The working party were taken by surprise, 
and supposing themselves attacked by overwhelming 
numbers, retreated precipitately towards the main camp. 
McGlassin spiked the guns and led his party back to 
the American fort without losing a man. The whole 
affair was boldly conceived and most gallantly executed. 
It was long before the British officers would believe 
that fifty men could make so much noise, or so badly 
frighten over three hundred of their veteran troops. 

When the British army reached Plattsburgh, their 
gun-boats had advanced as far as the Isle La Motte, 
where they remained, under command of Captain Pring. 


On the 8th Captain Downie reached that place with 
the rest of the fleet, and on the morning of the llth, 
the whole weighed anchor and stood south to attack 
the Americans, who lay in the Bay, off Plattsburgh. 

As the British vessels rounded Cumberland Head, 
about eight o'clock in the morning, they found Ma'c- 
donough at anchor a little south of the mouth of the 
Saranac river, and abreast, but out of gunshot, of the 
forts. His vessels lay in a line running north from 
Crab Island, and nearly parallel with the west shore. 
The brig Eagle, Captain Henley, lay at the head of 
the line, inside the point of the head. This vessel 
mounted twenty guns and had on board one hundred 
and fifty men. Next to her and 0:1 the south lay Mac- 
donough's flag ship, the Saratoga, mounting twenty- 
six guns, with two hundred and twelve men. Next 
south was the schooner Ticotideroga, of seventeen guns, 
Lieutenant Cassin, with one hundred and ten men, 
and next to her, and at the southern extremity of the 
line, lay the sloop Preble, Lieutenant Charles Budil. 
This vessel carried seven guns and was manned by 
thirty men. She lay so near the shoal extending north 
cast from Crab Island, as to prevent the enemy from 
turning that end of the line. To the rear of the lino 
were ten gun-boats, six of which mounted one long 
twenty-four pounder and one eighteen pound Coliun- 
biad each ; the other four carried one 12 pounder. The 
gun-boats had, on an average, thirty-five men each. 
Two of the gun-boats lay a little north and in rear of 
the Eagle, to sustain the head of the line ; the others 
were placed opposite the intervals between the different 
vessels, and about forty rods to their rear. The larger 
vessels were at anchor, while the gun-boats were kept 
in position by their sweeps. 

The British fleet was composed of the frigate Con- 
fiance, carrying thirty-seven guns,* with over three 
hundred men, commanded by Captain Downie ; the 

* There were thirty-nine guns on board the Confiance, but two of 
them were not mounted. Cooper. 


Brig Linnet, Captain Pring, of sixteen guns and 120 
men ; the sloop Chub, Lieutenant McGhee, and the sloop 
Finch, Lieutenant Hicks, carrying eleven guns and 
about forty-live men each. To these vessels were added 
thirteen gun-boats of about forty-five men each. Five 
of them carried two guns, and eight one gun each. 
Thus the force of the Americans consisted of one ship, 
one brig, one schooner, one sloop, and ten gun-boats, 
manned by eight hundred and eighty-two men, and 
carrying in all eighty-six guns. The British had one 
frigate, one brig, two sloops and thirteen gun-boats, 
manned by over one thousand men, and carrying in all 
ninety-five guns. The metal of the vessels on both 
sides was unusually heavy. The Saratoga mounted 
eight long twenty-fours, six forty-twos, and twelve 
thirty-twos, while the Confiance had the gun-deck of a 
heavy frigate, with thirty long twenty-fours upon it. 
She also had a spacious top gallant forecastle, and a 
poop that came no further forward than the mizen 
mast. On the first were a long twenty-four on a 
circle, and four heavy .carronades ; two heavy carron- 
ades were mounted on the poop.* 

When the British fleet appeared in sight the Finch 
led and kept in a course toward Crab Island, while the 
other vessels hove to opposite the point of Cumber- 

* Cooper's Naval History. Mr. Alison (in his History of England, 
vol. 4) says : "The relative strength of the squadron on this, as in 
every other naval action during the war, where the British were de- 
feated, was decidedly in favor of the Americans " a statement unwar- 
ranted by the facts, and unnecessary to sustain the high reputation of 
the British navy, The following are the number and size of the guns 
used on both fleets. 


14, long 24 pounders. 31, long 24 pounders. 

6, 42 pound carronades. 7, 1 8 
29, 32 " " 16, 12 
12, long 18 pounders. 5, 6 

12, long 12 " 12, 32 pound carronades. 

7, long 9 " 6, 24 " 
6, 18 pound Columbiads. 17, 18 " 

I, 1 8 pound Columbiad. 

86 guns. 95 guns. 


land Head, to allow the gun-boats to come up, and to 
receive final instructions as to the plan of attack. The 
vessels then filled and headed in towards the American 
fleet ; passing inside of the point of Cumberland Head; 
the Chub laying her course a little to windward of the 
Eagle, in order to support the Linnet, which stood 
directly towards that vessel. Captain Downie had de- 
termined to lay the Confiance athwart the Saratoga, 
but the wind baffling, he was obliged to anchor at 
about two cables length from that ship. The Finch, 
which had run about half way to Crab Island, tacked 
and took her station, with the gun-boats, opposite the 
Ticonderoga and Preble. 

As the British vessels approached they received the 
fire of the American fleet ; the brig Eagle firing first 
and being soon followed by the Saratoga and the sloop 
and schooner.* The Linnet poured her broadside in- 
to the Saratoga, as she passed that ship to take her po- 
sition opposite the Eagle Captain Downie brought 
his vessel into action in the most gallant manner, and 
did not fire a gun until he was perfectly secured, al- 
though his vessel suffered severely from the fire of the 
Americans. As soon however as the Confiance had 
been brought into position, she discharged all her lar- 
board guns, at nearly the same instant. The effect of 
this broadside, thrown from long twenty-four pounders, 
double shotted, in smooth water, was terrible. The Sar- 
atoga trembled to her very keel : about forty of her 
crew were disabled, including her first Lieutenant, Mr. 
Gamble, who was killed while sighting the bow gun. 

Soon after the commencement of the engagement the 

* The first gun fired on board the Saratoga was a long twenty-four, 
which Macdonough himself sighted. The shot is said to have struck 
the Confiance near the outer hawse-hole, and to have passed the length 
of her deck, killing and wounding several men, and carrying away the 
wheel. In clearing the decks of the Saratoga, some hen-coops were 
thrown overboard and the poultry permitted to run at large. Startled 
by the report of the opening gun of the Eagle, a young cock flew upon 
a gun slide, clapped his wings and crowed. The men gave three cheers 
aud considered the little incidence a happy omen. Coopers Naval His- 
tory and Niles' 1 Register. 


Chub, while manoeuvring near the head of the Amer- 
ican line, received a broadside from the Eagle, which 
so crippled her that she drifted down between the op- 
posing vessels and struck. She was taken possession of 
by Mr. Charles Platt, one of the Saratoga's midship- 
men, and was towed in shore and anchored. The Chub 
had suffered severely ; nearly half of her men having 
been killed or wounded. About an hour later the Finch 
was driven from her position by the Ticonderoga, and, 
being badly injured, drifted upon the shoal near Crab 
Island, where she grounded. After being fired into 
from the. small battery on the Island, she struck and 
was taken possession of by the invalids who manned 
the battery.* 

After the loss of the Finch, the British gun-boats 
made several efforts to close, and succeeded in compel- 
ling the sloop Preble to cut her cables and to anchor 
in shore of the line, where she was of no more service 
during the engagement. The gun-boats, emboldened by 
this success, now directed their efforts towards the Ti- 
conderoga, against which they made several very gal- 
lant assaults, bringing the boats, upon two or three oc- 
casions, within a few feet of the schooner's side. They 
were however as often beaten back, and the schooner, 
during the remainder of the day, completely covered 
that extremity of the line. 

While these changes were taking place at the lower 
end of the line, a change was also made at the other ex- 

* Mr. Alison (History of England, vol. 4), referring to the event, 
says : " The Finch, a British brig, grounded out of shot and did not en- 
gage ; ' ' and again, ' ' The Finch struck on a reef of rocks and could not 
get into action." Had Mr. Alison taken the trouble to read Captain 
Pring's official account of the engagement he would have found in it the 
following statement : " Lieutenant Hicks, of the Pinch, had the mortifi- 
cation to strike on a reef of rocks, to the eastward of Crab Island, about 
the middle of the engagement, which prevented his rendering that assist- 
ance to the squadron, that might from an officer of such ability, have 
been expected." It is very convenient for the English historian to con- 
vert a small sloop of eleven guns and forty men into a brig, and to keep 
that large vessel out of the action altogether, but, as I have before said, 
such statements are unnecessary to preserve the well-earned reputation 
of the British navy for bravery or gallantry in action 


tremity. The Eagle, having lost her springs and find- 
ing herself exposed to the fire of both the Linnet and 
Confiance, dropped down and anchored between the Sar- 
atoga and Ticonderoga, and a little inshore of both. 
From this position she opened afresh on the Confiance 
and the British gun-boats, with her larboard guns. This 
change relieved the Brig, but left the Saratoga exposed 
to the whole fire of the Linnet, which sprung her broad- 
sides in such a manner as to rake the ship on her 

The fire from the Saratoga and Confiance now began 
materially to lessen, as gun after gun on both vessels 
became disabled, until at last the Saratoga had not a 
single available gun, and the Confiance was but little 
better off. It therefore became necessary that both 
vessels should wind, to continue the action with any 
success. .This the Saratoga did after considerable 
delay ; but the Confiance was less fortunate, as the 
only effect of her efforts was to force the vessel ahead. 
As soon as the Saratoga came around she poured a fresh 
broadside from her larboard guns into the Confiance, 
which stood the fire for a few minutes and then struck. 
The ship then brought her guns to bear on the Linnet, 
which surrendered in about fifteen minutes afterwards. 
At this time the British gun-boats lay half a mile in 
the rear, where they had been driven by the sharp fire 
of the Ticonderoga and the Eagle. These boats low- 
ered their colors as soon as they found the larger 
vessels had submitted, but not being pursued, for the 
American gun-boats were sent to aid the Confiance and 
Linnet, which were reported to be in a sinking condi- 
tion, they escaped, together with a store sloop which 
lay near the point of Cumberland Head during the 

The engagement continued for two hours and a half, 
and was the most severely fought naval battle of the 
war. The Saratoga had twenty-eight men killed and 
twenty-nine wounded; the Eagle, thirteen killed and 
twenty wounded ; the Ticonderoga, six killed and six 
wounded, and the Preble, two killed. The loss on the 


gun-boats was three killed and tnree wounded. Total 
killed and wounded, one hundred and ten, being equal 
to every eighth man in the fleet. Besides, the Saratoga had 
been hulled fifty-five times and was twice on fire ; the 
Eagle was hulled thirty-nine times. The carnage and de- 
struction had been as great on the other side. The Confi- 
ance had forty-one men killed and eighty-three wound- 
ed ; the Linnet reported her casualties at ten killed and 
fourteen wounded, but the" killed and wounded prob- 
ably exceeded fifty ; the Chub was reported at six 
killed and ten wounded, and the Finch at two wound- 
ed. No account is given of the loss on the gun-boats, 
but, from their close and severe contest with the Ticon- 
deroga, it must have been large. The total of killed and 
wounded on the British side was equal to at least one- 
fifth of the whole number of men in their fleet. The 
Confiance had been hulled one hundred and five times. 
So severe had been the contest, that at the close of 
the action there was not a mast in either fleet fit for 

Among those killed on the side of the British were 
Captain Downie, who fell soon after the action com- 
menced ; Captain Alexander Anderson, of the Marines ; 
Midshipman William Gunn, of the Confiance ; and 
Lieutenant William Paul and Boatswain Charles Jack- 
son of the Linnet. Among the wounded were Mid- 
shipman Lee, of the Confiance ; Midshipman John 
Sinclair, of the Linnet ; and Lieutenant James McGhee, 
of the Chub. The American oflicers killed were Peter 
Gamble, 1st Lieutenant of the Saratoga ; John Stans- 
bury, 1st Lieutenant of the Ticondeioga, and Sailing 
Master Rogers Carter. Midshipman James M. Baldwin 
was wounded and died from the effects of the wound in 

* "I could only look at the enemy's galleys going off, in a shattered 
condition ; for there was not a mast in either squadron that could stand 
to make sail on ; the lower rigging being nearly all shot away, hung 
down as though it had been just placed over the mast heads." Mac- 
donough's Report of the Battle. "Our masts, yards and sails were so 
shattered that one looked like so many bunches of matches, and the 
other like a bundle of rags." Letter of Midshipman Lee of the Con- 


the city of New York on 23d July, 1816. Referring to 
the death of three of these officers, Mr. Cooper, in his 
History of the Navy, says : " Lieutenant Giunble was 
on his knees, sighting the bow-gun, when a shot entered 
the port, split the quoin, drove a portion of it against 
his breast and laid him dead on the quarter-deck with- 
out breaking his skin. Fifteen minutes later one of 
the American shot struck the muzzle of a twenty-four 
on the Confiance, dismounted it, sending it bodily in- 
board against the groin of Captain Downie, killing him 
also without breaking the skin. Lieutenant Stansbury 
suddenly disappeared from the bulwarks forward 
while superintending some duty with the springs of 
the Ticonderoga. Two days after the action his body 
rose to the surface of the water, and it was found that 
it had been cut in two with a round shot. 

It is said that scarcely an individual escaped onboard 
of either the Confiance or Saratoga,without some injury. 
Macdonough was twice knocked down ; once by the 
spanker-boom, which was cut in two by a shot and fell 
upon his back, as he was bending his body to sight a 
gun ; and again by the head of a gunner, which was 
driven against him, and knocked him into the scuppers. 
Mr. Bruin the sailing-master of the Saratoga, had his 
clothes torn off by a splinter, while winding the ship. 
Mr. Vallette, acting Lieutenant, had a shot-box, on 
which he was standing, knocked from under his feet 
and he too was once knocked down by the head of a 
seamen. Very few escaped without some accident, and 
it appears to have been agreed on both sides, to call no 
man wounded who could keep out of the hospital.* 
Midshipman Lee of the Confiance, who was wounded 
in the action, thus describes the condition of that vessel. 
" The havoc on both sides is dreadful. I don't think 
there are more than five of our men, out of three hun- 
dred, but what are killed or wounded. Never was a 
shower of hail so thick, as the shot whistling about our 
ears. Were you to see my jacket, waist-coat and trow- 

* Cooper's Naval History. 


sers, you would be astonished how I escaped as I did, 
for they are literally torn all to rags with shot and 
splinters; the upper part of my hat was also shot away. 
There is one of our marines who was in the Trafalgar 
action with Lord Nelson, who says it was a mere flea- 
bite in comparison with this."* 

As soon as the British fleet were observed approach- 
ing Cumberland Head, on the morning of the llth, Sir 
George Provost ordered General Power's brigade, and 
a part of General Robinson's brigade, consisting of four 
companies of light infantry, and the 3d battalions of 
the 27th and 76th, to force the fords of the Saranac, 
and to assault the American works. The advance was 
made, and the batteries were opened, the moment the 
action on the lake commenced. 

The British attempted to cross the river at three 
points ; one at the village bridge, where they were re- 
pulsed by the artillery and guards under Captains 
Brooks, Richards and Smith; one at the upper bridge, 
where they were foiled by the pickets and Riflemen, 
under Captain Grovener and Lieutenants Hamilton 
and Smith, supported by a detachment of militia ; and 
the third at the ford near " Pike's cantonment," where 
they were resisted by the New York Militia, under 
Major-general Mooers and Brigadier-general Wright. 
At this latter point, several companies succeeded in 
crossing, driving the militia before them towards Sal- 
mon River. The British advanced, firing by platoons, but 
with such carelessness of aim as to do but little injury.f 
At Salmon River, the militia were joined by a large 
detachment of the Vermont volunteers, and were soon 

* Letter to his brother, published in Niles' Register, vol. 8. The re- 
sult of the engagement depended, from the first, upon the Saratoga and 
Confiance. When Macdonough anchored his vessel he not only attached 
springs to the cables, but also laid a kedge broad off on each bow of the 
Saratoga, and brought the hawsers in upon the two quarters. To this 
timely precaution he was indebted for the victory, for without the lar- 
board hawser he could not have brought his fresh broadside into action. 

f I have conversed with several who boast of their activity during this 
retreat, and who felt a personal interest in the subject at the time, and 
they all state that the balls, at each volley, struck the pine trees at least 
fifteen feet from the ground. 


afterwards reinforced by Lieutenant Sumpter, with a 
party of artillery and a field-piece. Here they rallied 
and were drawn up to meet the attack of the British 
troops, who were rapidly approaching. Just at this 
moment an officer* rode up to the ranks, proclaiming 
the welcome intelligence that the British fleet had sur- 
rendered. With three hearty cheers the militia imme- 
diately pressed forward against the enemy, who, having 
been at the same moment recalled, were now rapidly 
retiring towards the ford. In their retreat, a company 
of the 76th lost their way among the thick pines, 
where they were surrounded and attacked by several 
companies of militia and Vermont volunteers. Three 
Lieutenants and twenty-seven men were made prisoners, 
and Captain Purchase and the rest of the company 
killed.f The rest of the British detachment regained 
the north bank of the Saranac without much loss.J 

Although no further attempt was made to cross the 
river, the British batteries continued their fire upon the 
American works until sundown. This fire was re- 
turned by the guns of Fort Brown, which were managed 
during the day with great skill, by Captain Alexander 
Brooks and the corps of veteran artillery under his 

Sir George Provost had now under his command over 
thirteen thousand troops, more than half of whom had 
served with distinction under Wellington, while the 
American force did not exceed fifteen hundred regulars, 
fit for duty, two thousand five hundred Vermont volun- 
teers, under Major-general Strong, six hundred of 
whom had just arrived, and General Wright's brigade 

* Chancellor Walworth, then Adjutant- general of Major-general 
Mooers' division. 

f It is said Captain Purchase was shot down, while waving a white 
hadkerchief over his head, as a notice that he had surrendered. 

J Sir George Provost, in his account of the battle, says: " Scarcely had 
his Majesty's troops forced a passage across the Saranac and ascended 
the heights on which stand the American works. 1 '' &c. This would imply 
that the British had gained ground near the forts, bnt such was not the 
case. They crossed nearly two miles above the forts, and followed the 
militia from, instead of towards the American works. 


of Clinton and Essex Militia, seven hundred strong, 
under command of Major-general Mooers. With his 
superior force, Provost could have forced the passage 
of the Saranac, and have crushed Macomb by the mere 
weight of numbers. But the victory would have been 
attended with great sacrifice of life, and would have 
led to no permanent advantage to the British. Mac- 
donough was in command of the lake; reinforce- 
ments of regulars were hastening to the support of 
Macomb ; the militia were rising en masse, in every 
quarter, and within two weeks Provost would have 
been surrounded, his supplies from Canada cut off, and 
an only alternative left to force his way back with the 
loss of half his army, or to have surrendered. In a 
dispatch to Earl Bathurst, after referring to the loss of 
the fleet, he says : " This unlooked-for event depriving 
me of the co-operation of the fleet, without which the 
further prosecution of the service was become imprac- 
ticable, I did not hesitate to arrest the course of the 
troops advancing to the attack, because the most 
complete success would have been unavailing ; and the 
possession of the enemy's works offered no advantage 
to compensate for the loss we must have sustained in 
acquiring possession of them." 

This was a just and merited compliment to the skill 
and bravery of the American regulars and militia. The 
former were few in number, but resolute and unflinch- 
ing. Among the latter the greatest enthusiasm now 
prevailed. They had become accustomed to the " smell 
of powder," and animated by the recollection of Mac- 
donough's victory, were ready to oppose any force that 
might attempt the passage of the Saranac. It is due 
to the patriotism of the citizens of Vermont, to men- 
tion the fact that as soon as Governor Chittenden re- 
ceived information from General Macomb of the inva- 
sion by the enemy, he issued a spirited address calling 
on the Vermont militia to rally to the aid of their 
countrymen on the opposite side of the lake. This 
address was most nobly responded to, for when the 
requisition of the President for a reinforcement of 


two thousand militia to aid General Macomb, reached 
the Governor, he replied that the order had not only 
been anticipated, but far exceeded, by the voluntary 
enrollment of his fellow-citizens. The same enthu- 
siasm pervaded the militia on the New York side. When 
Major-general Mooers* orders were received for the 
Militia of Warren, and Washington Counties to as- 
semble, en masse, and march to the frontier, there 
appeared, under arms, two hundred and fifty men 
more than had ever mustered at an inspection or 

Acting upon the considerations stated in his dispatch 
to Earl Bathurst, Sir George Provost prepared for an 
instant and hasty retreat. As soon as the sun went 
down, he dismantled his batteries, and, at 9 o'clock at 
night, sent off his heavy baggage and artillery, which 
were quickly followed by the main army ; the rear 
guard, consisting of a light brigade, started a little be- 
fore day-break, leaving behind them vast quantities of 
provisions, tents, camp equipage, ammunition, etc. The 
sick and wounded were also left behind, consigned to 
the generosity and humane care of General Macomb. So 
silent and rapid was the retreat, that the main army 
had passed through Beekmantown before its absence 
was known in the American camp. The light troops, 
volunteers and militia were immediately sent in pur- 
suit. They followed the retiring column as far as 
Chazy, and took a few prisoners. The roads were mud- 
dy, and very heavy at the time, which not only pre- 
vented further pursuit, but delayed Provost's retreat. 
The last of the British army did not leave Champlain 
until the 24th.* 

General Macomb, in his returns, states the number 
of killed, wounded and missing of the regular force 
under his command, during the skirmishes and bom- 
bardment, at one hundred and twenty-three. The only 
commissioned officer killed was Lieutenant George W. 

* Provost was recalled to England soon after his return to Canada, 
when charges were preferred against him. He died in December 1815, 
before his trial had commenced. 


Runk, of the 6th Regiment, who was severely wounded 
on the 7th and died the next day.* The loss among 
the volunteers and militia was small. The loss of the 
British has never been correctly ascertained. Their 
accounts fix the casualities of the expedition at under 
two hundred killed and wounded, and four hundred 
lost by desertion. This, however, is fur below the true 
number. At the time, the American officers believed 
the total loss of the British, from the time they h'rst 
crossed the lines until they again entered Canada, in 
killed, wounded and prisoners, and by desertion, was 
over two thousand men. Seventy-five prisoners were 

On the 12th the Vermont volunteers returned home, 
and on the 13th the New York Militia were disbanded 
by General Macomb, and orders issued countermanding 
the march of thousands, who were flocking to the 

On the morning of the 13th of September, the re- 
mains of the lamented Gamble, Stansbury, Carter and 
Barron were placed in separate boats, which, manned 
by crews from their respective vessels, proceeded to the 
Confiance, where they were joined by the British officers, 
with the bodies of Downie, Anderson, Paul, Gunn, and 
Jackson. At the shore of the lake, the procession was 
joined by a large concourse of the military and citizens 
of Plattsburgh, who accompanied the bodies to the vil- 
lage burial-ground. Near the centre of the graveyard, 

* Lieut. Rusk was buried on Crab Island. His remains were removed 
to the burial-ground in the village of Plattsburgh on the igth September 

t The following list of British officers killed or wounded during the in- 
vasion was published in the London Gazette of the igth and 26th Nov- 
ember, 1814, 

KILLED. Captain (Brevet Lieut. -Col.) James Willington and Ensign 
John Chapman, of the 3d Buffs. Captain John Purchase, 76th Regiment, 

WOUNDED. Captaiu T. Crosse, A. D, C., (slightly); Lieut. R. Kings- 
bury, severely, (since dead); Lieut. John West, (severely); Lieutenants 
Benson and Holmes, (slightly); all of the 3d Buffs. Captain L. West- 
ropp, (severely,); Lieut. C. Brohier and Adjutant Lewis, (slightly); of 
the 58th regiment, foot. 


beneath the shade of two pines, now rest the ashes of 
those gallant officers. The sailors and marines, who 
fell in the engagement, were buried on Crab Island, 
side by side, in one common grave. 

With the battle of Plattsburgh closed all active op- 
erations upon the Champlaiu frontier. For several 
months, however, the inhabitants were kept in a state 
of alarm, as it was rumored that the British authorities 
contemplated another campaign. Major-general. Mooers, 
New York, and Major-general Strong, of Vermont, 
ordered their respective divisions of militia to hold 
themselves in readiness for active service. General 
Macomb remained at Plattsburgh with a small force, and 
caused two redoubts to be thrown up a short distance 
to the south of Fort Moreau, which he named Fort 
Tompkins and Fort Gaines. 

The Treaty of Ghent was signed on the 24th of De- 
cember, 1814, and on the 17th of February following, 
was ratified by the United States Senate. With the 
publication of this treaty all fears of further hostilities 



At a meeting of the CLINTON COUNTY MILITARY 
ASSOCIATION, held on the 21st of August, 1843, it was, 
on motion of Mayor A. A. Prescott, 

Resolved, That this Association do celebrate, in some 
appropriate manner, the Anniversary of the Battle of 
Plattsburgh, on the eleventh of September next. 

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to 
confer with the Trustees of the Village, and make ar- 
rangements for the Celebration. 

Maj. Gen. Skinner, Brig. Gen. Halsey und Col. Moore, 
were appointed said committee. 

The following named gentlemen were duly appointed 
a committee on the part of the citizens to confer with 
the committee of the Military Association in making 
the necessary arrangements for the proper celebration 
of the day : 

William F. Haile, Moss K. Platt, D. B. McNeil, C. S. 
Mooers, R. A. Gilman, G. M. Beckwith, G. W. Palmer, 
S. Couch, Benj. Ketchum, R. A. Weed, J. Bailey, Peter 
S. Palmer, T. DeForris, William H. Morgan, J. W. 

At a meeting of the Joint Committee of Arrange- 
ments, Col. D. B. McNeil, (who was Acting Assistant 
Adjutant-general of the Militia forces at Plattsburgh, 


in September 1814,) was designated to act as President 
of the day, and the following resolutions were adopted : 

Resolved, That the citizens of Plattsburgh, in con- 
nection with such other persons as may unite with them, 
will on the llth of September, instant, proceed to the 
erection of plain marble monuments to mark the sev- 
eral spots where rest the mortal remains of the Amer- 
ican and British officers who fell at the memorable 
" Battle of Plattsburgh." 

Resolved, That R. A. Gilman, George Moore, and 
Roby G. Stone be a committee to procure the monu- 
ments and make the necessary arrangements to carry 
out the foregoing resolution. 

Resolved, That Brig.-Gen. Wool, and Lt.-Col. B. 
Riley, of the U. S. Army, be requested to unite with 
the citizens and military of this place in the proposed 
celebration, and the erection of the monuments above- 

Resolved, That Gen. Skinner, Gen. Halsey, and Col. 
R. G. Stone be the committee of invitation. 

Resolutions were also passed inviting the U. S. Offi- 
cers and troops stationed at this post, the surviving 
officers and soldiers of the regular army, the Clinton 
and Essex Militia, and the Vermont volunteers who 
participated in the events of that time, to unite with us 
in the proposed celebration. 

In accordance with the above arrangements, the 
Anniversary of the Battle of Plattsburgh was celebrated 
in an appropriate manner by the Clinton County Mili- 
tary Association and the citizens of Plattsburgh and 
its vicinity generally, on Monday last. General Wool 
and suite, and several other gentlemen who were in 
the battle of the llth, were present by special invita- 

The procession was formed at Fouquet's hotel at 10 
o'clock, under the direction of Gen. C. Halsey, Chief 
Marshal, assisted by Messrs. C. S. Mooers, G. W. 
Palmer, and R. G. Stone, escorted by the U. S. Troops 


at this post under the command of Capt. C. A. Waite, 
and moved to the Park in front of the Court House, 
where an able and patriotic address was delivered by 
Col. A. C. Moore, to a large and attentive audience of 
ladies and gentlemen. 

After the address, the procession was again formed 
and moved to the burying-ground, where a square was 
formed by the U. S. Troops and the Military Associa- 
tion around the unmarked graves of those who fell in 
the battle of Plattsburgh. 

After a prayer by the Rev. Mr. Witherspoon, and an 
address by Gen. Skinner, the president of the day 
(Col. McNeil) said: 

u FELLOW-CITIZENS : The President of the day has 
designated our distinguished guest, Brigadier-General 
Wool, of the United States Army, who commanded the 
detachment of American regular troops opposed to that 
division of the British Army which advanced upon 
Plattsburgh by the Beekmantown road on the 6th of 
September, 1814, to erect a monument at the head of 
the grave of Col. Willington, of the 3d Regiment of 
British Buffs, who gallantly fell at the head of his 
regiment at Culver's Hill, on the Beekmantown road, 
in the memorable battle of the 6th of September, 1814. 

" The division of the British Army in which the 
brave and lamented Willington fell was not less than 
4,000 strong ; and when we take into view the fact that 
General Wool (then a Major), with a light corps of but 
250 regular troops, all told, contested every inch of 
ground with this formidable force in their descent upon 
Plattsburgh, the selection of General Wool to perform 
the melancholy duty assigned to him cannot fail to give 
deep interest to the solemn occasion which brought us 
together upon tbis hallowed spot. Nothing can be more 
appropriate than that the monument about to be erected 
should be raised by the hand of an officer who bore an 
honorable and conspicuous part in the events of the 
memorable day on which the gallant Willington fell. 
It is a pleasing spectacle to see the living brave doing 
honor to the memory of the illustrious dead." 


Gen. Wool proceeded to discharge the duty assigned 
him, and said : 

signed me by the President of the day, in behalf of the 
citizens of Plattsburgh and the Military Association of 
the County of Clinton, is no less gratifying to me than 
it is honorable and magnanimous to its authors, and 
will furnish an example worthy of imitation for all time 
to come. It is not less a holy and pious offering to the 
illustrious dead, than the offspring of noble and gener- 
ous hearts to a fallen foe, and will furnish themes of 
praise to the end of time. It will be a healing balm to 
the wounded hearts of relatives and friends whilst it 
will not fail to call forth from every Briton who passes 
this consecrated spot tears of gratitude as well as tears 
of sympathy. 

" With these brief remarks, I now erect, in behalf of 
the citizens of Plattsburgh and the Military Association 
of Clinton County, this monument to the memory of 
Colonel Wellington, who fell the 6th of September, 
1814, at Culver's Hill, leading to the charge the ad- 
vance of the British army marching on Plattsburgh." 

The President of the day said: 

" FELLOW-CITIZENS : Our esteemed fellow-citizen, 
Judge Haile, late a captain in the United States Army, 
will now proceed to place monuments at the respective 
graves of Captain Purchase, late of the British Army ; 
Lieut. Runk, Lite of the 6th Regiment, United States 
Infantry ; and Ensign John Chapman, late of the 3d 

The President of the day, in designating Judge Haile 
to perform the duty assigned to him, did so from a full 
knowledge of the fact that no officer of his rank ever 
left the army of the United States with a higher and 
more enviable reputation as a fearless and fighting offi- 
cer than did Captain Haile. 

Judge Haile proceeded to the duty assigned him, 
with suitable remarks. 

The President of the day then sa^id : 


" FELLOW-CITIZENS : The Colonels Miller and 
Manly and Maj.-Gen. Skinner, all of whom bore a dis- 
tinguished part in the battles of Beekmantown and 
Plattsburgh, is assigned the honor of erecting monu- 
ments- to the memory of Lieutenant Peter Gamble, 
United States Navy; John Stansbuiy, United States 
Navy, and Midshipman James M. Baldwin, United 
States Navy. 

The gentlemen above mentioned proceeded to dis- 
charge the duty assigned them, accompanied by ap- 
propriate remarks. 

The President said 

"To our esteemed fellow-citizen, Platt R. Halsted, 
Esq., late a Lieutenant in the United States Army, I 
assign the honor of placing monuments at the graves 
of Captain Alexander Anderson of the British marines ; 
Lieutenant William Paul, midshipman ; William Gunn 
and boatswain Charles Jackson of the British Navy, 
and Joseph Barren, Pilot on board Commodore Mac- 
donough's ship all of whom fell in the naval engage- 
ment in Cumberland Bay, off Plattsburgh, on the llth 
of September, 1814. 

"Joseph Barren, Pilot, was personally known to 
Lieut-Halsted and myself, and was a man held in high 
estimation for his intelligence and patriotism by all 
who had the pleasure of his acquaintance." 

Lieut. Halsted, in the discharge of the duty assigned 

him, erected the monuments at the head of the graves 
of the three Lieutenants of the British Navy, and pro- 
ceeded to the grave of Joseph Barron, and, as near as 
we' could catch his remarks, spoke as follows : 

" I take a melancholy pleasure in erecting this monu- 
ment at the head of the grave of Joseph Barron, Com- 
modore Macdonough's confidential Pilot. I knew him 
well he was about my own age we were school boys 
together a warmer hearted or a braver man never 
trod the deck of a ship." 

Lieut Springer, late of the U. S. Army, was desig- 
nated by the President of the day, to erect the monu- 


ment at the head of the grave qf Sailing Master Rogers 
Carter, U. S. Navy, and proceeded to discharge that 

A benediction was then pronounced by Rev. Mr. 
Witherspoon, and the procession returned to Fou- 
quet's Hotel, where the committee of arrangements, 
the invited guests and the Military Association 
partook of an excellent dinner, got up in Fouquet's 
best style. 

Among the sentiments offered on this occasion was 
the following, by General Skinner : 

Brig.-general Wool, U. S. Army The Hero of 
Beekmantown as well as Queenstown 

" His laurels are green, though his locks are gray." 

General Wool, with much feeling, responded to this 
sentiment as follows : 

Mr. PRESIDENT I rise with a heart overflowing 
with gratitude to respond to the sentiment just given 
by my friend at the other end of the table. I find it 
impossible, however, filled as I am with emotion, to 
make a speech, or give utterance to my feelings in a 
manner worthy of the occasion. Were it otherwise, I 
could say but little that has not already been said. I 
might speak of the campaigns of 1812 and '13, which 
closed with the most gloomy forebodings. I might 
also speak of the campaigns of 1814, when the mantle 
of darkness was cast off, and a blaze of light shone 
forth along the frontier from Fort Erie to Plattsburgh, 
and finally closed, with a brilliancy seldom equalled, 
on the plains of New Orleans. But these periods have 
already been noticed and described in the most elo- 
quent and stirring language. Therefore, little remains 
for me to add, could I give utterance to my feelings, 
but to express my warmest thanks for the kind par- 
tiality with which you have been pleased to allude to 
my services. I would, however, remark that although 
at one period of the war darkness and despondency ap- 


peared to pervade our beloved country, there was one 
bright spot exempt from the general gloom. It was 
here in this place, Plattsburgh, that the patriotic in- 
habitants never wavered nor quailed before the legions 
of Great Britain. They stood by their country in the 
darkest hour, and never failed to cheer and comfort 
the war-worn soldier, and to receive him with open 
arms whether he returned victorious, or was driven 
back by the force of circumstances. Who that was at 
Plattsburgh in 1812, '13 and '14, does not remember 
with delight Mooers, Smith, Sailly, Delord, Bailey, 
Palmer and Ransom, all patriotic citizens and devoted 
friends of their country in war as well as in peace, but 
who now rest in the mansions of eternal bliss. With 
these few remarks, Mr. President, I would offer this 

The Citizens of Plattsburgh and the Military As- 
sociation of Clinton County This day attests their 
magnanimity and greatness of soul, by the homage 
paid to the illustrious dead who fell fighting the battles 
of their country. 




With the Inscriptions on the Monuments erected Sept. 11, 1843. 





G. W. RUNK, 



6th Regt. U. S. 

3d Regt. Buffs, 

3d Buffs, 

Army, 8th Sept. 

B. Army. 

B. Army. 


6th Sept. 1814. 

6th Sept. 1814. 


3d Buffs, 
B. Army. 

6th Sept. 1814. 



Sailing Master 

Peter Gamble, 

John Stansbury, 

Rogers Carter, 

U. S N. 

U. S. N. 

U. S. N. 

nth Sept. 1814. 

nth Sept. 1814. 

nth Sept. 1814. 

J. M. Baldwin, 

U. S. N. 
nth Sept. 1814.' 


Joseph Barren, 
Ship Saratoga. 
11 tli Sept. 1814. 


to the memory of 
A Post Captain in the Royal Brit. 
Navy, who gloriously fell on 
board His B. M. S. the Con- 
fiance, while leading the 
vessels under his com- 
mand to the 

attack of the American Flotilla, 
at anchor in Cumberland Bay, 

off Plattsburph, 
on the nth September, 1814. 

To mark the spot where the remains 

of a gallant officer and sincere 

friend were honorably interred, 

this stone has been erected by his 

affectionate Sister-in-Law, 

Chas. Jackson, 

B. Navy, 
nth Sept. 1814. 

Capt. Purchase, 

Alx.' Anderson, 

Acting Lieut. 


76th Regt. 

Capt. Marines, 

William Paul, 

William Gunn, 

B. Army. 

B. Navy, 

B. Navy. 

B. Navy. 

nth Sept. 1814. 

nth Sept. 1814. 

nth Sept. 1814. 

nth Sept. 1814. 


* This is an error. Midshipman. Baldwin died in New York City in 1816 from the 
effects of a wound received on Lake Champlain. (See Plattsburgh Republican, Aug. 
5, 1816.) 




SCHUYLEB'S ISLAND, October 12, 1776. 

DEAR GENERAL: Yesterday morning at eight 
o'clock,* the enemy's fleet, consisting of one ship 
mounting sixteen guns, one snow mounting the same 
number, one schooner of fourteen guns, two of twelve, 
two sloops, a bomb-ketch and a large vessel (that did 
not come up) with fifteen or twenty flat-bottomed boats 
or gondolas, carrying one twelve or eighteen pounder 
in their bows, appeared off Cumberland Head. We 
immediately prepared to receive them. The galleys 
and Royal Savage were ordered under way ; the rest of 
our fleet lay at an anchor. At eleven o'clock they ran 
under the lee of Valcour and began the attack. The 
schooner, by some bad management, fell to leeward and 
was first attacked ; one of her masts was wounded and 
her rigging shot away. The captain thought prudent 
to run her on the point of Valcour, where all the men 
were saved. They boarded her, and at night set fire to 
her. At half-past twelve the engagement became gen- 

*American Archives, Fifth series, vol. ii. 1038. In the same letter, 
published in the journal of The New York Provincial Congress, vol. 
ii., p. 344, the time is stated at" 10 o'clock." 


eral, and very warm. Some of the enemy's ships and 
all their gondolas beat and rowed up within musket 
shot of us. They continued a very hot fire with round 
and grape shot until five o'clock, when they thought 
proper to retire to about six or seven hundred yards 
distance, and continued the fire till dark. 

The Congress and Washington have suffered greatly, 
the latter lost her First Lieutenant killed, Captain and 
Master wounded. The New York lost all her officers 
except the captain. The Philadelphia was hulled in 
so many places, that she sunk about one hour after the 
engagement was over. The whole killed and wounded 
amounted to about sixty. The enemy landed a large 
number of Indians on the Island and each shore, who 
kept an incessant fire on us but did little damage. The 
enemy had, to appearance, upwards of one thousand 
men in bateaux prepared for boarding. We suffered 
much for want of seamen and gunners. I was obliged, 
myself to point most of, the guns on board the Congress, 
which I believe did good execution. The Congress re- 
ceived seven shot between wind and water; was hulled 
a dozen times ; had her main mast wounded in two 
places and her yard in one. The Washington was 
hulled a number of times ; her main mast shot through 
and must have a new one. Both vessels are very leaky, 
and want repairing. 

On consulting with General Waterbury and Colonel 
Wigglesworth, it was thought prudent to return to 
Crown Point, every vessel's ammunition being nearly 
three-fourths spent, and the enemy greatly superior to 
us in ships and men. At seven o'clock Colonel Wig- 
glesworth, in the Trumbull, got under way ; the gon- 
dolas and small vessels followed, and the Congress and 
Washington brought up the rear. The enemy did not 
molest us. Most of the fleet is this minute come to an 
anchor. The wind is small to the southward. The 
enemy's fleet is under way to leeward, and beating up. 
As soon as our leaks are stopped, the whole fleet will 
make the utmost despatch to Crown Point, where I beg 
you will send ammunition, and your further orders for 


us. On the whole I think we have had a very fortu- 
nate escape, and have great reason to return our hum- 
ble and hearty thanks to Almighty God for preserving 
and delivering so many of us from our more than sav- 
age enemies. 

I am, dear General, your affectionate servant, 


P. S. I had not moved on board the Congress when 
the enemy appeared, and lost all my papers and most 
of my clothes on board the schooner. I wish a dozen 
batteaux, well manned could be sent immediately to 
tow up the vessels in case of a southerly wind. 

I cannot, in justice to the officers in the fleet, omit 
mentioning their spirited conduct during the action. 

B. A. 


TICONDEBOGA, October 15, 1776. 

DEAR GENERAL : I make no doubt before this you 
have received a copy of my letter to GeneralGates of the 
12th instant, dated at Schuyler's Island, ad vising of an ac- 
tion between our fleet and the enemy the preceding day, 
in whicli we lost a schooner and a gondola. We remained 
no longer at Schuyler's Island than to stop our leaks, 
and mend the sails of the Washington. At two o'clock 
p. M. the 12th, weighed anchor with a fresh breeze to 
the southward. The enemy's fleet at the same time got 
under way ; our gondola made very little way ahead. 
In the evening the wind moderated, and we made such 
progress that at six o'clock next morning we were about 
off Willsborough, twenty-eight miles from Crown-Point. 
The enemy's fleet were very little way above Schuyler's 
Island ; the wind breezed up to the southward, so that 
we gained very little by beating or rowing, at the same 
time the enemy took a fresh breeze from the northeast, 
and by the time we had reached Split-Rock, were along- 
side of us. The Washington and Congress were in the 


rear, the rest of our fleet were ahead except two gondo- 
las sunk at Sclmyler's Island. The Washington galley 
was in such a shattered condition, and had so many 
men killed and wounded, she struck to the enemy after 
receiving a few broadsides. We were then attacked in 
the Congress galley by a ship mounting twelve eight- 
een-pounders, a schooner of fourteen sixes, and one of 
twelve sixes, two under our stern, and one on our 
broadside, within musket-shot. They kept up an in- 
cessant fire on us for about five glasses, with round and 
grape-shot, which we returned as briskly. The sails, 
rigging, and hull of the Congress were shattered and 
torn in pieces, the First Lieutenant and three men 
killed, when, to prevent her falling into the enemy's 
hands, who had seven sail around me, I ran her ashore 
in a small creek ten miles from Crown-Point, on the 
east side when, after saving our small-arms, I set heron 
lire \vith four gondolas, with whose crews, I reached 
Crown-Point through the woods that evening, and very 
luckily escaped the savages, who waylaid the road in 
two hours after we passed. At four o'clock yesterday 
morning I reached this place, exceedingly fatigued and 
unwell, having been without sleep or refreshment for 
near three days. 

Of our whole fleet we have saved only two galleys, 
two small schooners, one gondola, and one sloop. 
General Waterbury, with one hundred and ten prison- 
ers, were returned by Carleton last night. On board 
of the Congress we had twenty-odd men killed and 
wounded. Our whole loss amounts to eighty odd. 

The enemy's fleet were last night three miles below 
Crown Point ; their army is doubtless at their heels. 
We are busily employed in completing our lines and re- 
doubts, which I am sorry to say are not so forward as 
I could wish. We have very few heavy cannon, but 
are mounting every piece we have. It is the opinion 
of General Gates and St. Clair that eight or ten thou- 
sand Militia should be immediately sent to our assist- 
ance, if they can be spared from below. I am of opin- 
ion the enemy will attack us with their fleet and army 


at the same time. The former is very formidable, a 
list of which I am favored with by General Waterbury, 
and have enclosed. The season is so far advanced, our 
people are daily growing more healthy. 

We have about nine thousand effectives, and if prop- 
erly supported, make no doubt of stopping the career 
of the enemy. All your letters to me of late have mis- 
carried. I am extremely sorry to hear by General 
Gates 3 r ou are unwell. I have sent you by General 
Waterbury a small box containing all my public and 
private papers, and accounts, with a considerable sum 
of hard and paper money, which beg the favor of your 
taking care of. 

I am, dear General, your most affectionate, humble 
servant, B. ARNOLD. 

To Hon. Major General Schuyler. 

N. B. Two of the enemy's gondolas sunk by our fleet 
the first day, and one blown up with sixty men. 


On board the Maria, off Crown-Point, 
October 15, 1876. 

IT is with the greatest pleasure that I embrace this 
opportunity of congratulating their Lordships upon 
the victory completed the 13th of this month, by his 
Majesty's fleet under my command, upon Lake Cham- 

Upon the llth I came up with the Rebel fleet, com- 
manded by Benedict Arnold; they were at anchor 
under the Island Valcour, and formed a strong line, 
extending from the island to the west side of the conti- 
nent. The wind was so unfavorable, that, for a con- 
siderable time, nothing could be brought into action 
with them but the gun-boats. The Carleton schooner, 
commanded by Mr. Dacres, who brings their Lordships 
this, by much perseverance, at last got to their assist- 


ance ; but as none of the other vessels of the fleet could 
then get up, I did not think it by any means advisable 
to continue so partial and unequal a combat ; conse- 
quently, with the approbation of Ids Excellency General 
Carleton, who did me the honor of being on board the 
Maria, I called off the Carleton and gun-boats, and 
brought the whole fleet to anchor in a line as near as 
possible to the Rebels, that their retreat might be cut 
off ; which purpose was however frustrated by the ex- 
treme obscurity of the night ; and in the morning the 
Rebels had got a considerable distance from us up the 

Upon the 13th, I again saw eleven sail of their fleet 
making off to Crown Point, who, after a chase of seven 
hours, I came up with in the Maria, having the Carle- 
ton and Inflexible a small distance astern ; the rest of 
the fleet almost out of sight. The action began at twelve 
o'clock, and lasted two hours, at which time Arnold, in 
the Congress galley, and five gondolas ran on shore, 
and were directly abandoned and blown up by the 
enemy, a circumstance they were greatly favored in by 
the wind being off shore, and the narrowness of the 
lake. The Washington galley struck during the ac- 
tion, and the rest made their escape to Ticonderoga. 

The killed and wounded in His Majesty's fleet, in- 
cluding the artillery in the gun-boats, do not amount 
to forty ; but from every information I have yet got, 
the loss of the enemy must indeed be very considerable. 


QUEBEC, October, 21, 1776. 

Having for the space of six weeks attended the naval 
equipments for the important expedition on Lake 
Champlain, I, on the 4th inst, saw with unspeakable 
joy the reconstructed ship now called the Inflexible, &nd 
commanded by Lieutenant Schank, her rebuilder, sail 


from St. Johns, twenty-eight days after her keel was 
laid, towards the place of rendezvous, taking in her 
eighteen twelve-pounders beyond the shoal, which is 
this side of Isle-aux-Noix, in her way up. 

The prodigies of labor which have been effected since 
the Rebels were driven out of Canada, in creating, re- 
creating and equipping a fleet of above thirty fighting 
vessels of different sorts and sizes, and all carrying 
cannon, since the beginning of July, together with trans- 
porting over land, and afterwards dragging up the two 
rapids of St. Terese and St. Johns, thirty long-boats, 
the flat-bottomed boats, a gondola weighing about 
thirty ton and above four hundred-batteaux, almost ex- 
ceed belief. His Excellency the Commander-in-chief of 
the army and all the other generals are of the opinion that 
the sailors of His Majesty's ships and transports, have, 
far beyond the usual limits of their duty, exerted them- 
selves to the utmost on this great and toilsome occa- 
sion ; nor has a man of that profession uttered a single 
word expressive of discontent, amidst all the hardships 
they have undergone, so truly patriotic are the motives 
by which they are actuated. To crown the whole, 
above two hundred prime seaman of the transports, im- 
pelled by a due sense of their country's wrongs, did 
most generously engage themselves to serve in our 
armed vessels during the expedition, and embarked ac- 
cordingly. Such having then been our unremittting 
toils, I am happy beyond expression in hereby acquaint- 
ing my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that the 
destruction of almost the whole of the Rebel fleet, in 
two successive battles on the llth and 13th, instant, is 
our reward. I have received a letter from Captain 
PRENGLE, of the Lord Howe, armed ship, who commands 
the officers And seaman on the lake, and who bestows 
the highest encomiums on their behavior in both en- 
gagements. The Rebels did by no means believe it 
possible for us to get upon Lake Champlain this year ; 
were much surprised at the first sight of the van of our 
force,. but ran into immediate and utter confusion the 
moment a three-masted ship made her appearance, being 


a phenomenon they never so much as dreamed of.* Thus 
have His Majesty's faithful subjects here, contrary to a 
crude but prevailing idea, by straining every nerve in 
their country's cause, outdone them in working, as much 
as in fighting. The ship Inflexible, with the Maria and 
Carleton schooners, all reconstructions, did the whole of 
the second day's business, the flat-bottomed rideau, 
called the Thunderer, and the gondola, called the Royal 
Convert with the gun-boats, not having been able to 
keep up with them. The said gondola was taken from 
the Rebels the day the seige of Quebec was raised. The 
loss we have sustained, considering the great superiority 
of the insurgents, is very small, consisting of between 
thirty and forty men killed and wounded, seamen, 
soldiers, artillery-men and all ; eight whereof were 
killed outright and six wounded on board the Carleton. 


STANFOKD, October 24, 1776. 

HONORED SIR : I have now returned home on pa- 
role. Your Honor has undoubtedly heard of my mis- 
fortune of being taken prisoner on the 13th instant, on 
Lake Champlain. I shall give your Honor a short 
sketch of our engagement, which is as follows : 

On Friday morning, the llth instant, our alarm guns 
were fired,that the enemy's fleet were off Cumberland 

* Arnold does not seem to have been badly f rightenedal the appear- 
anceof the " three-masted ship," although "he had no knowledge that 
so large a vessel was xipon t he lake, until she hove in sight off Cumber- 
land Head. WASHINGTON had heard of the vessel from a prisoner, 
and had transmitted the information to Congress on the 27th of Sep- 
tember, but not even a rumor of such a vessel had reached the offi- 
cers on Lake Charnplain. Capt. Douglass was misinformed as to 
the relative efficiency of the two fleets. The British had a decided 
superiority both in the experience and discipline of seamen and gun- 
ners, and in weight of metal. 


Head. I immediately went on board of General Arnold, 
and told him that I gave it as my opinion that the fleet 
ought immediately to come to sail, and fight them on 
the retreat in Main Lake, as they were so much superior 
to us in number and strength, and we being in such a 
disadvantageous harbor to fight a number so much su- 
perior, and the enemy being able with their small boats 
to surround us on every side, as I knew they could, we 
lying between an island and the main : but General 
Arnold was of the opinion that it was best to draw the 
fleet in a line where we lay, in the bay of Valcour. 
The fleet very soon came up with us, and surrounded us, 
when a very hot engagement ensued, from ten o'clock 
in the morning till towards sunset, when the enemy with- 
drew. We immediately held council to secure a retreat 
through their fleet to get to Crown Point, which was done 
with so much secrecy that we went through them en- 
tirely undiscovered. The enemy finding, next morning, 
that we had retreated, immediately pursued us, the 
wind being against us, and my vessel so torn to pieces 
that it was almost impossible to keep her above water ; 
my sails were so short that carrying sail split them 
from foot to head, and I was obliged to come to anchor 
at twelve o'clock, to mend my sails. When we had 
completed that we made sail just at evening. The en- 
emy still pursued all night. I found next morning 
that they gained upon us very fast, and that they would 
very soon overtake me. The rest of the fleet all being 
very much ahead of me, I sent my boat on board of 
General Arnold to get liberty to put my wounded in the 
boat and send them forward and run my vessel on shore 
and blow her up. I received for answer, by no means 
to run her ashore, but to push forward to Split Rock, 
where he would draw the fleet in line and engage them 
again : but when I came to Split Rock, the whole fleet 
was making their escape as fast as they could, and left 
me in the rear to fall into the enemy's hands. But be- 
fore I struck to them, the ship of eighteen twelve 
pounders and a schooner of fourteen six-pounders had 
surrounded me which obliged me to strike, and I 


thought it prudent to surrender myself prisoner of war. 
As soon as I was taken General Arnold, with four gon- 
dolas, ran ashore and blew up the vessels ahead of me. 
One thing I have omitted in the former part of my 
letter, that is, the Royal Savage ran ashore on the Point 
of Valcour in the first engagement and was lost. 



[James Murray Hadden was a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Regiment 
of Artillery, and had command of a British gun-boat in the naval bat- 
tle at Yalcour Island. ] 

EXTRACT. " The 10th Oct'r the fleet proceeded to 
the southern end of Isle La Motte on the eastern shore 
of Lake Champlain, which afterwards widens very con- 
siderably to about twelve or fifteen miles in many places. 
The llth of Oct'r the army arrived at Point Au 
Fer under General Burgoyne, and early in the morn- 
ing the fleet under Gen'l Carlton, and Captain Pringle 
of the navy. A large detachment of savages, under 
Mayor Carlton, also moved with the fleet in their canoes, 
which were very regularly ranged. These canoes are 
made of birch bark, and some of them brought fifteen 
hundred miles down tho country, several of which would 
contain thirty people. * * About eleven o'clock this 
morning, one of the enemy's vessels was discovered and 
immediately pursued into a bay on the eastern [sic.] 
shore of the lake where the rest of their fleet was 
found at anchor in the form of a crescent between Val- 
cour Island and the Continent. Their fleet consisted of 
three row galleys, two schooners, two sloops and eight 
gondolas, carrying in all ninety guns. That of the 


British carried only eighty-seven peices of ordinance in- 
cluding eight howitzers. The pursuit of this vessel was 
without order or regularity, the wind being fair to go 
down the lake enabled us to overtake the vessel before 
she could, by taks, get into the rest of their fleet, but 
lost to us the opportunity of going in at the upper end 
of the island and attacking the whole at once. The 
vessel which proved to be the Royal Savage, taken by 
them from St. Johns last year, carrying fourteen guns, 
was run on shore, and most of the men escaped on to 
Valcour Island, in effecting which they were fired upon 
by the gun-boats, this firing at one object drew us all 
in a cluster and four of the enemy's vessels getting un- 
der weigh to support the Royal Savage, fired upon the 
boats with success. An order was therefore given by 
the commanding officer for the boats to form across the 
bay : this was soon effected though under the enemy's 
whole fire, and unsupported, all the King's vessels hav- 
ing dropped too far to leeward. This unequal combat 
was maintained for two hours, without any aid, when 
the Carlton schooner of 14 guns, 6 pounders, got into 
the bay and immediately received the enemy's whole 
fire, which was continued without intermission for about 
an hour, when the boats of the fleet towed her off, and 
left the gun-boats to maintain the conflict. This was 
done till the boats had expended their ammunition 
when they were withdrawn, having sunk one of the en- 
emy's gondolas, killed or wounded seventy men, and 
considerably damaged others, Being small objects the 
loss in the gun-boats was inconsiderable. Twenty 
men (a German gun-boat blown up). Each gun- 
boat carried one gun in the bow (or howitzer), 
7 Artillerymen and 11 seamen, the whole under an Ar- 
tillery officer. It was found that the boats' advantage 
was not to come nearer than 700 yards, as whenever 
they approached nearer, they were greatly annoyed by 
grape shot, though their case could do little mischief. 
Each boat had 80 rounds of ammunition, 30 of which 
were case shot, and could not be used with effect. The 
boats were now formed between the vessels of the 


British fleet, just wunout the enemy's shot, being with- 
drawn a little before sundown and the Royal Savage 
blown up. This last was an unnecessary measure, as 
she might at a more leisure moment have been got off, 
or, at all events, her stores saved, and in her present 
position no use could be made of her by the enemy ; 
night coming on it was determined to make a general 
attack early next morning. The rebels having no land 
force the savages took post on the main and Valcour 
Island. Thus being upon both flanks they were able 
to annoy them in the working of their guns. This had 
the effect of now and then obliging the rebels to turn a 
gun that way, which danger the savages avoided by 
getting behind trees. The boats having received a 
small supply of ammunition, were unaccountably or- 
dered to anchor under cover of a small island without 
the opening of the bay. 

" The enemy finding their force diminished and the 
rest severely handled by little more than one-third the 
British fleet,. determined to withdraw towards Crown 
Point, and passing through our fleet about ten o'clock 
at night, effected it undiscovered. This the former 
position of the gun-boats would probably have pre- 
vented. All the enemy's vessels used oars, and on 
this occasion they were muffled." 

* In the editions of this compilation, published in 1853 and 1866, it is 
stated that Arnold, on his retreat, passed around the north end of Val- 
cour. I have made the correction upon the credit of Lieut. Hadden's 
statement that the gun-boats were withdrawn, thus leaving a passage 
along the main shore unguarded. 



OCTOBER 3, 1814. 

IN compliance with your request, I have now the hon- 
or to enclose copies of all the documents received from 
Captain Macdonough, in relation to the brilliant and 
extraordinary victory achieved by the United States' 
squadron under his command, over that of the enemy 
in Plattsburgh Bay, on Lake Champlain. 

This action, like that of its prototype on Lake Erie, 
cannot be portrayed in language corresponding with the 
universal and just admiration inspired by the exalted 
prowess, consummate skill, and cool, persevering intre- 
pidity, which will ever distinguish this splendid and 
memorable event. 

This like those brilliant naval victories which pre- 
ceded it has its peculiar features, which mark it with 
a distinct character. It was fought at anchor. The 
firm, compact, and well formed line ; the preparations 
for all the evolutions of which the situation was sus- 
ceptible, and the adroitness and decisive effect with 
which they were performed in the heat of battle, mark 
no less the judgment which planned, than the valor and 
skill displayed in the execution. 

All these are heightened by the contemplation of a 
vigorous and greatly superior foe, moving down upon 
this line, in his own time, selecting his position, and 
choosing his distance ; animated by the proximity of a 


powerful army in co-operation, and stimulated by the 
settled confidence of victory. 

To view it in abstract, it is not surpassed by any 
naval victory on record ; to appreciate its result, it is 
perhaps one of tlic most important events in the history 
of our country. 

That it will be justly estimated, and the victors duly 
honored by the councils of the nation, the justice and 
liberality hitherto displayed on similar occasions, is a 
sufficient pledge. 

I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully sir, 
Your obedient servant, 

The Hon. Charles Tate, 

Chairman of the Naval Committee of the Senate. 

(Copy.) United States' ship Saratoga, off 

Pittsburgh, Sept. 11, 1814. 


The Almighty has been pleased to grant us a sig- 
nal victory on lake Champlain, in the capture of one 
frigate, one brig, and two sloops of war of the enemy. 
I have the honor to be 
Very respectfully sir, 
Your obedient servant, 


Hon. William Jones, Secretary of the Navy. 

(Copy.) United States' ship Saratoga, 

at anchor off Pittsburgh, Sept. 13, 1814. 


By lieut. commandant Cassin I have the honor to con- 


vey to you the flags of his Brittannic majesty's late 
squadron, captured om the llth inst. by the United 
States' squadron, under my command. Also, my de- 
spatches relating to that occurrence, which should have 
been in your possession at an earlier period, but for the 
difficulty in arranging the different statements. 

The squadron under my command now lies at Platts- 
burgh it will bear of considerable diminution, and 
leave a force sufficient to repel any attempt of the en- 
emy in this quarter. I shall wait your order what to do 
with the whole or any part thereof, and should it be 
consistent, I beg you will favor me with permission to 
leave the lake and place me under command of commo- 
dore Decatur, at New York. My health (being some 
time on the lake,) together with the almost certain in- 
activity of future naval operations here, are among the 
causes for this request of my removal. 

I have the honor to be, 
Sir, with much respect, 
Your most ob't servant, 

Hon. William Jones, Secretary 

of the Navy, Washington. 

(Copy.) United States' ship Saratoga, 

Plattsburgh Bay, Sept. 11, 1814 


I have the honor to give you the particulars of the 
action which took place on the llth inst. on this lake. 

For several days the enemy were on their way to 
Plattsburgh, by land and water; and it being under- 
stood that an attack would be made at the same time by 
their land and naval forces, 1 determined to await at 
anchor the approach of the latter. 

At 8 A. M. the lookout boat announced the approach 


of the enemy. At 9, he anchored in a line ahead at 
about 300 yards distance from my line ; his ship opposed 
to the Saratoga, his brig to the Eagle, Captain Robert 
Henley, his galleys, thirteen in number, to the schoon- 
er, sloop, and a division of our galleys ; one of his sloops 
assisting their ship and brig, the other assisting their 
galleys. Our remaining galleys with the Saratoga and 
Eagle. In this situation, the whole force, on both sides, 
became engaged : the Saratoga suffering much from the 
heavy fire of the Confiance. I could perceive at the 
same time, however, that our fire was very destructive 
to her. The Ticonderoga, lieutenant-commandant Cas- 
sin, gallantly sustained her full share of the action. At 
half-past 10 o'clock, the Eagle, not being able to bring 
her guns to bear, cut her cable, and anchored in a more 
eligible position, between my ship and the Ticonderoga, 
where she very much annoyed the enemy, but unfortu- 
nately leaving me exposed to a galling fire from the en- 
emy's brig. Our guns on the starboard side being nearly 
all dismounted, or not manageable, a stern anchor was 
let go, the bower cable cut, and the ship winded with a 
fresn broadside on the enemy's ship, which soon after 
surrendered. Our broadside was then sprung to bear 
on the brig, which surrendered in about 15 minutes 

The sloop that was opposed to the Eagle, had struck 
some time before, and drifted down the line ; the sloop 
which was with their galleys having struck also : three of 
their galleys are said to be sunk, the others pulled off. 
Our galleys were about obeying, with alacrity, the sig- 
nal to follow them, when all the vessels were reported 
to me to be in a sinking state ; it then became necessary 
to annul the signal to the galleys, and order their men 
to the pumps. 

I could only look at the enemy's galleys going off in 
a shattered condition, for there was not a mast in either 
squadron that could stand to make sail on ; the lower 
rigging, being nearly all shot away, hung down as 
though it had been just placed over the mast heads. 

The Saratoga had fifty-five round shot in her hull ; 


the Confiance one hundred and five. The enemy's shot 
passed principally just over our heads, as there were 
not twenty whole hammocks in the nettings aj, the close 
of the action, which lasted, without intermission, two 
hours and twenty minutes. 

The absence and sickness of Lieut. Raymond Perry, 
left me without the services of that excellent officer ; 
much ought fairly to be attributed to him for his great 
care and attention in disciplining the ship's crew, as her 
first lieutenant. His place was filled by a gallant 
young officer, Lieutenant Peter Gamble, who, I regret 
to inform you, was killed early in the action. Acting- 
Lieutenant Vallette worked the 1st and 2nd divisions 
of guns with able effect. Sailing master Brum's atten- 
tion to the springs, and in the execution of the order to 
wind the ship, and occasionally at the guns, meets with 
my entire approbation ; also Captain Young's com- 
manding the acting marines, who took his men to the 
guns. Mr. Beale, purser, was of great service at the 
guns, and in carrying my orders throughout the ship, 
with Midshipman Montgomery. Master's mate Joshua 
Justin, had the command of the third division : his 
conduct during the action was that of a brave and cor- 
rect officer. Midshipmen Monteith, Graham, William- 
son, Platt, Thwing, and Acting Midshipman Baldwin, 
all behaved well, and gave evidence of their making 
valuable officers. 

The Saratoga was twice set on firo by hot shot from 
the enemy's ship. 

I close, sir, this communication with feelings of grati- 
tude for the able support I received from every officer 
and man attached to the squadron which I have the 
honor to command. 

I have the honor to be, 

With great respect, sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 


Hon. William Jones, Secretary of the Navy. 

P. S. Accompanying this is a list of killed and 


wounded, u list of the prisoners, and a precise state, 
ment of both forces engaged. Also letters from Capt. 
Henly and Lieut.-Coramandant Cassin. T. M. 

(Copy. ) United States' Ship Saratoga. 

September 13, 1814. 


I have the honor to enclose you a list of the killed 
and wounded on board the different vessels of the 
squadron under your command in the action of the 
llth in st. 

It is impossible to ascertain correctly the loss of the 
enemy. From the best information received from the 
British officers, from ray own observations, and from 
various lists found on board the Confiance, I calculate 
the number of men on board of that ship at the com- 
mencement of the action, at 270, of whom 180, at least, 
were killed and wounded ; and on board the other cap- 
tured vessels at least 80 more, making the whole, killed 
or wounded, 260. This is doubtless short of the real 
number, as many were thrown overboard from the Con- 
fiance during the engagement. 

The Inuster books must have been thrown overboard 
or otherwise disposed of, as they are not to be found. 
I am, sir, respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 



Thomas Macdonough, Esq., Commanding 

United States' Squadron on Lake Champlain. 


Return of killed and wounded on board the United 
States squadron on Lake Champlain in the engage- 
ment with the British fleet, on the llth of Septem- 
ber, 1814. 


KILLED. Peter Gamble, lieutenant ; Thomas Butler, 
quarter gunner ; James Norberry, boatswain's mate ; 
Abraham Davis, quarter-master; William Wyer, sail- 
maker; William Brickel, seaman; Peter Johnson, sea- 
man ; John Coleman, seaman ; Benjamin' Burrill, ordi- 
nary seaman ; Andrew Parmlee, ordinary seaman ; Peter 
Post, seaman ; David Bennett, seaman ; Ebenezer 
Johnson, seaman ; Joseph Couch, landsman ; Thomas 
Stephens, seaman ; Randall McDonald, ordinary sea- 
man; John White, ordinary seaman; Samuel Smith, 
seaman ; Thomas Malony, ordinary seaman ; Andrew 
Nelson, seaman ; John Sellack, seaman ; Peter Hanson, 
seaman ; Jacob Lara way, seaman ; Edward Moore, sea- 
man ; Jerome Williams, ordinary seaman ; James Car- 
lisle, marine ; John Smart, seaman ; Earl Hannemon, 
seaman. Total, 28. 

WOUNDED. James M. Baldwin, acting midshipman ; 
Joseph Barren, pilot ; Robert Gary, quarter gunner ; 
George Cassin, quartermaster; John Hollingsworth, 
seaman; Thomas Robinson, seaman; Purnall Smith, 
seaman ; John Ottiwell, seaman ; John Thompson, or- 
dinary seaman ; William Tabee, ordinary seaman ; 
William Williams, ordinary seaman ; John Roberson, 
seaman ; John Towns, landsman ; John Shays, seaman ; 
John S. Hammond, seaman ; James Barlow, seaman ; 
James Nagle, ordinary seaman ; John Lanman, seaman ; 
Peter Colberg, seaman; William Newton, ordinary 
seaman ; Neil J. Heidmont, seaman ; James Steward, 
seaman ; John Adams, landsman ; Charles Ratche, sea- 
man; Benjamin Jackson, marine; Jesse Vanhorn, 
marine J Joseph Ketter, marine ; Samuel Pearson, ma- 
rine. Total, 29. 



KILLED. Peter Vandermere, master's mate; John 
Ribero, seaman ; Jacob Lindnmn, seaman ; Perkins 
Moore, ordinary seaman ; James Winship, ordinary 
seaman; Thomas Anwright, ordinary seaman; Nace 
Wilson, ordinary seaman ; Thomas Lewis, boy ; John 
Wallace, marine ; Joseph Heaton, marine ; Robert 
Stratton, marine ; James M. Hale, musician ; John 
Wood, musician. Total, 13. 

WOUNDED. Joseph Smith, lieutenant ; William A. 
Spencer, acting lieutenant ; Francis Breeze, master's 
mate ; Abraham Walters, pilot ; William C. Allen, 
quartermaster; James Duick, quarter gunner; Andrew 
McEwen, seaman ; Zebediah Concklin, seaman ; Joseph 
Valentine, seaman ; John Hartley, seaman ; John 
Micklan, seaman; Robert Buckley, seaman; Aaron 
Fitzgerald, boy ; Purnall Boice, ordinary seaman ; John 
N. Craig, seaman ; John McKenny, seaman ; Mathew 
Scriver, marine ; George Main waring, marine ; Henry 
Jones, marine ; John McCarty, marine. Total, 20. 


KILLED. John Stansbury, lieutenant ; John Fisher, 
boatswain's mate ; John Atkinson, boatswain's mate ; 
Henry Johnson, seaman ; Deodiick Think, marine ; 
John Sharp, marine. Total, 6. 

WOUNDED. Patrick Cassin, seaman; EzekielGoud, 
seaman ; Samuel Sawyer, seaman ; William Le Count, 
seaman ; Henry Collin, seaman ; John Condon, marine. 
Total, 6. 


KILLED. Rogers Carter, acting sailing master ; 
Joseph Rowe, boatswain's mate. 



KILLED. Arthur W. Smith, pursers steward; 
Thomas Gill, boy ; James Day, marine. 

WOUNDED. Ebenezer Cobb, corporal of marines. 


WOUNDED. James Taylor, landsman. 


WOUNDED. Peter Frank, seaman. 


KILLED. Saratoga, 28 ; Eagle, 13 ; Ticonderoga, 6 ; 
Preble, 2 ; Borer, 3. Total, 52. 

WOUNDED. Saratoga, 29 ; Eagle, 20 ; Ticonderoga, 
6 ; Borer, 1 ; Centipede, 1 ; Wilmer, 1. Total, 58. 


NONE KILLED OR WOUNDED. Nettle, Allen, Viper, 
Burrows, Ludlow, Alwyn, Ballard. 





OFFICERS. Daniel Priug,* captain; Hicks, Cres- 
wick, Robinson, M'Ghie, Drew, Hornsby, lieutenants ; 

* On parole. 



Childs, lieutenant of marines ; Fitzpatrick, lieutenant 
39th Regt. ; Bryden, sailing-master ; Clark, Simmonds, 
master's mates ; Todd, surgeon ; Giles, purser ; Guy, 
captain's clerk ; Dowell, Aire, Bondell, Toorke, Kew- 
stra, midshipmen ; Davidson, boatswain ; Elvin, Mickel, 
gunners; Cox, carpenter; Parker, purser; Martin, 
surgeon M'Cabe, assistant surgeon. 

340 seamen. 

47 wounded men paroled. 















8 long 24 pounders, 

6 42 pound carronades, 

12 32 do. do. Total, 26 guns. 

12 32 do. do. & 8 long 18 prs. 20 

8 long 12 pounders. 

4 18 do. 

5 32 pound carronades. 17 

7 long 9 pounders, 7 

Ten Galleys, viz : 

1 long 24 pr. & 1 18 pr. Columbiad, 2 





12 pounder, 
12 do. 
12 do. 
12 do. 

Guns, 86 



14 long 24 pounders, 

6 42 pound carronades, 
29 32 do. do. 

12 long 18 pounders, 
12 12 do. 

7 9 do. 

6 18 pound Columbiads. 

Total, 86 guns. Ave. 22 3-4 pounders 


llTH SEPTEMBER, 1814. 

Frigate Confiance, 27 long 24 pounders, 

4 32 pound carronades, 

6 24 do. do. 

2 1. 18 prs. on b. deck. T'l, 39 guns. 

Brig Linnet, 16 long 12 pounders, 16 

Sloop Chub,* 10 18 pound carronades, 

1 long 6 pounder, 11 

Finch,* 6 18 pound carronades, 

1 18 do. Columbiad, 
4 long 6 pounders, 11 

Thirteen Galleys, viz : 

Sir James Yeo, 1 1. 24 pr. & 1 32 p. carronade, 2 

Sir George Prevost, 1 do. do. 2 

Sir Sidney Beckwith, 1 do. do. 2 

Broke, 1 1. 18 pr. & 1 32 p. do. 2 

Murray, 1 do. & 1 18 p. do. 2 

Wellington, 1 do. 1 

*These sloops were formerly the United States' Growler and Eagle. 



Tecumseh, 1 

Name unknown, 1 

Drummond, 1 

Simcoe, 1 

Unknown, 1 

Do. 1 

Do. 1 



32 pound carronade, 

do. do. 

do. do. 

do. do. 

do. do. 





30 long 24 pounders, 
7 18 do. 

16 12 do. 

5 6 do. 

13 32 pound cammades, 

6 24 pound do. 

17 18 do. do. 

1 18 do. Columbiad. 

95 guns. Ave. about 21 1-5 


(Copy.) United States Brig Eagle, 

Plattsburgh, Sept. 12, 1814. 


I am happy to inform you that all my officers and 
men acted bravely, and did their duty in the battle of 
yesterday, with the enemy. 

I shall have the pleasure of making a more particular 
representation of the respective merits of my gallant 
officers, to the Honorable the Secretary of the Navy. 
I have the honor to be, 
Respectfully sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 


P. S. We had thirty-nine round shot in our hull, 
(mostly 24 pounders,) four in our lower masts, and we 
were well peppered with grape. I enclose my boat- 
swain's report. 

(Copy.) Unites States Schooner Ticonderoga, 

Plattsburgh Bay, Sept. 12, 1814. 


It is with pleasure I state that every officer and man 
under my command, did their duty yesterday. 
Yours respectfully, 


Lieutenant- Commandant 

Commodore Thomas Macdonough. 

United States' Ship Saratoga, 
September 15, 1814, off Plattsburgh. 


As Providence has given into my command the 
squadron on Lake Champlain, of which you were (after 
the fall of Captain Downie) the commanding officer, I 
beg you will, after the able conflict you sustained, and 
evidence of determined valor you evinced on board His 
Britannic Majesty's brig Linnet, until the necessity of 
her surrender, accept of your enclosed parole, not to 
serve against the United States, or their dependencies, 
until regularly exchanged. 

I am, &c., &c., 


To Captain Pring, Royal Navy. 



Chief Commandant in America 67 

Advances against Ticonderoga 68 

Retreat of . .". 69 

ALGONQUINS. At war with the Mohawks 19 


Captures works on Mount Defiance 131 


Character of 87 

Expedition against Ticonderoga 88 

Taken prisoner at Montreal 96 


Moves against Ticonderoga; builds fort at Crown 
Point; embarks for Canada ; plans expedition 
against Indians ; takes Montreal 73-77 


Character of 86 

At Ticonderoga 88 

Expedition against St. Johns 91 

Cruises on Lake 104-5 

Engagement at Valcour and loss of fleet 108-112 

AMERICANS. Build vessels on lake 104 

Strengthen Ticonderoga 103-118 

Evacuate Ticonderoga 122 

Retake Mt. Defiance 131 

Invasion of Canada, 1875-6 93 

Retreat from Canada 100 


Graves of officers killed Sept. 1814 218 

Official reports of battle of Valcour 219 

Macdonough's official report 231 

BAUM, COL. Defeated at Bennington 132 

246 INDEX. 

BEAUHAKNOIS, M. DE. Erects fort at Crown Point 47 

BLOOMFIELD, GEN. Ordered to Champlain frontier 161 

BOUGAINVILLE, M. DE. Abandons Isle Aux Noix 77 

BOUBLEMAQUE, M. DE. Sent to protect Carillon 73 

Destroys fort and retreats to Canada 74 


Assigned to command in Canada 116 

Invests Ticonderoga 117-123 

Surrender of 132 


Allen, Ebenezer 138 

Allen, Ira 139 

Burgoyne, Genl 133 

Bailey, William 153 

Macdonough, Com 164 

Macomb, Alex., Genl 187 

Mooers, Ben j. Genl 141 

Izard, Genl 184 

Pike, Z. M., Genl 162 

Platt, Zephaniah 146 

Platt, Charles 149 

Sailly, Peter 148 

Smith, Melancton, Judge 144 

Smith, Sidney, Lieut 165 

Smith, Melancton, Col 191 

St. Clair, Genl 118 

Treadwell, Thomas 147 

Woolsey, Melancton L 149 

BURLINGTON. Bell of St. Regis secreted there 44 

U. S. troops stationed at in 1812-14 168-182 

Fired at by British Gun-boats 170 

CANADA. Condition of in 1689 34 

Ceded to Great Britain 77 

Invasion and retreat of American Army 93-101 

Military Force in 1812 161 

Trade with in 1811 163 

CABIGNAN-SATIERES. Why so called 25 

COURCELLES, M. DE. Defeated by Mohawks 27 

CORLEAR. Intercedes for the French 27 

Drowned in Lake Champlain 32 


Attempt to raise Siege of St. Johns 96 

Policy towards prisoners 1 12 

Menaces Ticonderoga 114 

Returns to Canada 115 

INDEX. 247 


Sails for America ................................... 17 

Joins expedition against Mohawks through Lake 
Champlain .................................... 19-21 

Governor of Canada ................................ 22 

Character and death ................................ 24 

CHAMPLAIN, TOWN OF. Citizens threatened .................. 174 

U. S. Army at ...................................... 184 

Sir Geo. Prevost at ................................. 189 


Dispute with Vermont volunteers ................... 176 

Orders Vermont Militia to Plattsburgh . ............. 207 

CLARK, ISAAC, COL. At Missisco Bay ........................ 173 

CUMBERLAND HEAD. Military Works constructed on ........ 184 

CROWN POINT. Occupied by French ........................ 27-49 

Amherst builds new fort at ......................... 74 

Taken possession of by Americans .................. 89 

Condition of Army at, on return from Canada ........ 100 

DEARBORN MAJ.-GENL. Command of Northern frontier ...... 161 

DERBY, VT. Storehouses and barracks burned ................. 174 

DEERFIELD. Destroyed by French and Indians ............... 44 

DENONVILLE, M. DE. Makes treaty with Iroquois ............ 35 


Arrives at Crown Point ............ ................ 59 

Attacks English at Lake George and wounded ....... 60 


Commands British fleet in 1814 ...................... 198 

Killed in action ..................................... 202 

Buried at Plattsburgh ........................... 209-218 

ENGLISH. Iroquois' opinion of ............................... 57 

Neglect to colonize on Lake Champlain ............. 55 

Defeat Arnold at Valcour .......................... 107 

Capture Ticonderoga ................................ 122 

Retreat to Canada .................................. 133 

Subsequent appearance on Lake ..................... 134 

Henry's mission to New England .................... 157 

Appear off Burlington .............................. 170 

Destroy property at Plattsburgh ..................... 169 

Appear off Otto Creek .............................. 183 

Enter U. S. under Provost .......................... 189 

Reach Plattsburgh ..... . ........................... 194 

Retreat from Plattsburgh ........................... 208 


Viceroy of Canada .................................. 34 

Organizes attack on Schenectady .................... 36 

And against Mohawk Village . , , ..................... 43 

248 INDEX. 

FORSYTE, LT.-COL. Killed by Indians 185 

FRENCH. Repulsed at Ft. Wm. Henry 64 

Abandon Lake Champlain 74 


Ann 45, 47 

Carillon built by French 62, 64 

Description of 67 

Blown up 74 

Chambly. 25 

Attacked by Iroquois 34 

Taken by Americans 95 

Crown Point built by Amherst 74 

Edward 58, 64 

George, massacre at 66 

Isle Aux Noix. 94, 102, 167, 184, 186 

Laprairie 40, 42 

Nicholson 45 

Richelieu 24, 25 

St. Anne 25, 30, 34 

St. Frederic, description of 48 

Seat of French power 50 

Destroyed 74 

St. Johns 91, 96, 102 

St. Theresa 25, 26, 34 

Ticonderoga 62, 74, 87, 110 

William Henry 62, 64 

HUDSON, HENRY. Sails up Hudson River. 23 

HOCHELAGA (Montreal). Description of 16 

H AVILAND, COL. Seizes Isle Aux Noix 77 

HUBBARDTON. Battle of 124 

HALE, COL. Retreat dictated by humanity 125 


Abortive invasion of Canada 172 

Dispute with Wilkinson 178 

Removed from command on frontier 179 

INDIANS. Character of 18 

At Fort St. Frederic 50 

Number of tribes under Montcalm ' 66 

Burgoyne's war feast to ..:.......' 117 

At Battle of Valcour 228 

With British in war of 1812 174-185 

Claim of title to land bordering on Lake 154 


Marches to Lake George 55 

Defeats Dieskau ,.,.,, 60 

INDEX. 249 


General description of 1-14 

First sail vessel built on 49 

French grants on 51 

French build armed vessels 73 

First settlement on borders of 78-84 

Progress of settlement after Revolution 137 

Commerce of .... , 152 

American and English flotillas on Lake in 1776 106-7 

In 1814 198-9 

Variety of fish in 151 

Sloops on, in 1811 163 

First Steamboat on Lake 163 

French fleet on Lake destroyed 75 

U. S. Gun-boats built in 1812 157 

Loss of Eagle and Growler 165 

LACOLLE. Battle of 180 

MOHAWKS. Description of Villages 31 

MONTCALM, M. DE. Arrives at Ticonderoga; Captures Fort 

George; Defeats Abercrombie 65-68 

MONTGOMERY, MAJ.-GENL. Invades Canada ; captures St. 

Johns; enters Montreal; killed at Quebec 94-98 


Ordered to Lake Champlain 164 

Builds fleet 167-183 

Defeats British 200 


In command at Plattsburgh 187 

Strength of his Army 188 

NICHOLSON, COL. Plans invasion of Canada 45-47 

PAKKER, COL. Captured by French 102 


Scout to St. Frederic 62 

Skirmish with French 70 

Life saved by Marin 71 

PLATTSBURGH. Murray's raid 167 

Forts and batteries at 191 

Skirmish on Beekmantown road 193 

Building burned by order of Macomb 106 

Loss at Battle of 203, 208, 237 

Funeral of officers in Sept., 1814 209 

Sailors buried on Crab Island 210 

Aiken's Volunteers at Battle of 195 

Battleof 189-209 

Anniversary of battle 211 

Official report of Naval engagement 231 

250 INDEX. 

PLATT, NATHANIEL, C APT. Disciplines a Tory Divine 85 

POINT Au FER. Fortified by Sullivan 100 

Held by British until after peace 136 

QUEBEC. Indian name of 16 

ROGERS, ROBERT, CAPT. Scout to St. Frederic, on Lake 

Champlain ; wounded at Ticonderoga 62-3 

Expedition against St. Frangois Indians 78 

Engagement near Rouse's Point 76 

ROUSE'S POINT. Arnold at 104 

Storehouse burned 175 

Battery at, ordered built 184 

Fort Blunder built 11 

SCHENECT ADY. Burned 35 

Families killed near 39 

SCHUYLER, ABRAM, CAPT. Scout to Chambly 38 

SCHUYLER, JOHN, CAPT. Attacks Laprairie 40 

SCHUYLER, PHILIP, MAJ. Surprises Fort Laprairie 42 

ST. CLAIR, MAJ.-GENL. In command at Ticonderoga 119 

Abandons Ticonderoga 122 

Censured by the people 126 

Ridiculous report against 138 

TRACY, M. DE. Builds Forts. 225 

Invades Mohawk country 26-30 

Strangles a Mohawk 29 

TRAVASY AND CHASY, CAPTS. Murdered by Indians 29 

UNITED STATES. Difficulty with Great Britain 156 

Declaration of war . 160 

VERMONT. First settlement of 77 

Admitted into Union 137 

Progress of settlements 138 

Patriotism of inhabitants. ..'...' 158 

Volunteers dispute with Governor of 176 

At Battle of Plattsburgh 207 

VALCOUR. Battle of 107-111 

Official reports of battle 219 



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